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The Scary of Sixty-First, a conspiracy-soaked thriller from Red Scare podcaster and viral “sailor socialism” star Dasha Nekrasova, has won the prize for best first feature at the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival. The film follows two women who move into a New York apartment once owned by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Berlinale jury called Nekrasova’s debut feature “an audacious take on genre cinema that confronts contemporary issues such as global power structures, sexual abuse, conspiracy theories and the dark corners of the internet in a wildly twisted, witty and subversive manner. Perhaps in recognition that polite decorum may no longer be an effective tactic in sparking discourse around these burning issues.”
The Berlinale jury gave a special mention to District Terminal, a German-Iranian film from first-time directors Bardia Yadegari and Ehsan Mirhosseini, a bleak dystopian drama set in a near-future in which pollution and a lethal virus have reduced the city to a dump and the population to emigrate, mostly to the US, or live in constant quarantine.
Nous (We), a portrait of Paris by French director Alice Diop, told through intimate vignettes of citizens living in the suburbs, won the Berlinale Documentary Award for best non-fiction film at the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival. The documentary prize comes on top of the award for Nous for best film of titles screening in Berlin’s Encounters section, which aims to foster “aesthetically and structurally daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers.” The Encounters prize was announced after Berlin’s online-only festival in March. The documentary award was one of a handful of honors announced ahead of Berlin’s in-person and open-air awards ceremony in the German capital on Sunday, June 13,
The documentary jury said the decision to award Diop’s film was unanimous, praising the director’s “curiosity about the human condition and her thoughtful language (or: the thoughtfulness in the language).”
The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation, from Avi Mograbi, a sharply critical look at the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, told through first-person testimony of Israeli soldiers, received a special mention from the documentary jury.
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