'Honey,' Polanski win top Berlin prizes

'If I Want to Whistle' takes Silver Bear

BERLIN -- "Honey," a drama from Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu, has won the Golden Bear for best film at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival. The still-incarcerated Roman Polanski won the best director Silver Bear for "The Ghost Writer."

"Honey," the final film in Kaplanoglu's autobiographical trilogy -- the others are "Egg" (2007) and "Milk" (2008) -- follows a young boy in rural Turkey whose father collects wild honey. It was one of the few life-affirming films in this year's Berlinale lineup and was an underdog favorite for the top prizes, which were awarded Saturday.

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The Berlinale jury, headed by director Werner Herzog, gave its Silver Bear Jury Prize to a very different film: Florin Serban's "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle." a pull-no-punches look at juvenile delinquents in Romania. "Whistle" also nabbed the Alfred Bauer Award, named after the Berlinale's founder.

The decision to bestow the director nod on Polanski is certain to light up talk-show airwaves. Whatever the reasons for the jury's decision, the Silver Bear likely will be seen as a signal of solidarity with the director, currently under house arrest in Switzerland and awaiting possible extradition to the U.S. on a sex charge dating back to the 1970s.

Polanski sent a message through one of his producers, "Even if I could come, I wouldn't, because the last time I went to a festival to accept an award I ended up in jail."

Grigory Dobrygin and Sergei Puskepalis shared best actor Silver Bears for their portrayals of men struggling against nature in Alexei Popogrebsky's "How I Ended This Summer." The film's cinematographer, Pavel Kostomarov, picked up a second Silver Bear for extraordinary cultural contribution for his breathtaking Arctic images.

Japan's Shinobu Terajima won the best actress Silver Bear for Koji Wakamatsu's "Caterpillar," in which she plays a wife caring for her soldier husband, who lost his limbs during the second Sino-Japanese war.

The best screenplay Silver Bear went to Wang Quan'an's family drama "Apart Together."

"Sebbe," from Swedish director Babak Najafi, which ran in Berlin's Generation sidebar, was honored with the festival's Best First Film award.
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