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Andreas Dresen’s political drama Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush and Jamie Sisley’s U.S. feature Stay Awake — which looks at the toll drug addiction takes on a family — have won top honors from the guild of German art house cinema owners as the best movies screening in competition and the Generation 14plus sections of the 2022 Berlinale.
Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush picked up two of Berlin’s top awards Wednesday night, with star Meltem Kaptan taking the Silver Bear for best performance — Berlin’s gender-neutral best acting honor— and Laila Stieler winning best screenplay. The film traces the five-year battle by Rabiye Kurnaz (Kaptan) to get her son Murat released from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo. The fight takes Kurnaz and lawyer Bernhard Docke (played by Alexander Scheer) all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The jury said Dresen had created an “explosive and nevertheless entertaining film” about the fight against injustice. “Dresen opens up universal questions about the rule of law and whether the individual can win the fight against Goliath,” they noted.
Stay Awake, which received a special mention from Generation 14plus youth jury, proved a crowd-pleaser at this year’s festival. The dramedy, inspired by Sisley’s own family, looks at the struggles of brothers Ethan (Wyatt Oleff) and Derek (Fin Argus) as they try to care for their addicted mother Michelle, played by Chrissy Metz.
The jury called Stay Awake “a strong and at the same time complex portrait of two young men who are discovering who they are.” Sisley portrays “complicated family dynamics…in a ruthless yet tender manner,” they conclude.
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