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Touch Me Not, a provocative film about sexuality and intimacy that features long stretches of graphic nudity, on Saturday won the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear for best film. Romanian director Adina Pintilie’s drama was a surprise pick by the Berlinale jury, which was headed by German director Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas, Run Lola Run).
Pintilie’s movie about a fifty-something woman exploring her sexuality also won the fest’s best first feature award.
“I’ve got the flu,” said the director, accepting her award, “and I’m in a fever.” Pintilie thanked her actors, who appear completely nude in many scenes throughout the film, “for your courage.”
“We wanted to award prizes not just for what cinema can do and where it is, but where it could go in the future,” said Tykwer, explaining the jury’s decision.
The Glashutte Original documentary award went to Austrian director Ruth Beckermann’s The Waldheim Waltz, which examines the scandal that engulfed former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim when details of his Nazi past were made public in the 1980s.
“This is a film that shows how you can gain ground with nationalism, racism and anti-Semitism,” said the helmer. “It’s also a warning that a film like this is so current.”
Dieter Kosslick, the longtime director of the Berlinale who will be exiting his post after next year’s festival, briefly addressed the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. The discussion about the representation of women, in front of and behind the camera, dominated this year’s Berlinale.
“I don’t need to repeat any of that here,” Kosslick said, “but I think our films have shown diverse and strong women.”
Elena Okopnaya won the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution for her costumes for Alexey German Jr.’s Dovlatov, an intimate look at a week in the life of Russian novelist Sergei Dovlatov.
Alonso Ruizpalacios and Manuel Alcala earned best screenplay honors for their script to Ruizpalacios’ crime drama Museum, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal as a hapless thief who carries out a daring robbery of priceless artifacts from Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology.
The best actor prize went to France’s Anthony Bajon for his starring role in Cedric Kahn’s The Prayer, in which he plays a young heroin addict who turns to prayer and a monastic lifestyle to fight his addiction.
Paraguayan actress Ana Brun received the best actress award for her starring role in Marcelo Martinessi’s The Heiresses, in which she plays a middle-aged gay woman forced to re-engage with the world after her partner of many years is imprisoned.
“I want to dedicate this prize to the woman of my country, who fight,” said Brun, accepting her trophy. “Dankeschon, Berlin!”
The Heiresses also picked a second honor, taking the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, named for the festival’s founder.
Wes Anderson was named best director for Isle of Dogs. The film’s Bill Murray accepted the prize on behalf of the filmmaker, saying, “I never thought I’d go to work as a dog and come home with a bear,” as he hefted the silver trophy, before paraphrasing John F. Kennedy: “Ich bin ein Berliner Dog.”
Berlin’s Silver Bear Grand Jury prize, the festival’s runner-up honor, went to Mug, a tragicomedy from Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska about a man who faces small-town prejudice after he become’s Poland’s first recipient of a face transplant.
Winners of the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival:
Golden Bear for best film
Touch Me Not by director Adina Pintilie
Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
Mug from director Malgorzata Szumowska
Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives
The Heiresses from director Marcelo Martinessi
Silver Bear for best director
Wes Anderson for Isle of Dogs
Silver Bear for best actress
Ana Brun for Marcelo Martinessi’s The Heiresses
Silver Bear for best actor
Anthony Bajon for Cedric Kahn’s The Prayer
Silver Bear for best screenplay
Alonso Ruizpalacios and Manuel Alcala for Museum
Silver Bear for outstanding artistic aontribution in the categories camera, editing, music score, costume or set design
Elena Okopnaya for the costumes for Alexey German Jr.’s Dovlatov
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