Berlin: 'Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn' Wins Golden Bear

Bad Luck Banging
Courtesy of MicroFilm

Berlin Golden Bear winner 'Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn' was shot entirely under COVID-19 lockdown, with cast members wearing masks.

Director Radu Jude's film is a scathing social satire about sex, lies and videotape.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn from Romanian director Radu Jude has won the Golden Bear for best film at the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival.

A scathing social satire about sex, lies and videotape, the movie was shot entirely during COVID lockdown last summer, with cast and crew all wearing antiviral masks.

The movie, which divided critics, is another typically left-field decision from Berlin, whose juries often pick experimental or controversial films for their top honor.

The runner-up Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, a female-driven ensemble drama from Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi.

The Berlin Silver Bear for best director went to Dénes Nagy for Natural Light, his feature debut, which follows Hungarian soldiers in World War II as they patrol the icy forests of Ukraine, on the hunt for Soviet partisans. 

A special jury award went to German documentarian Maria Speth for Herr Bachmann and His Class, a fly-on-the-wall documentary that follows a German teacher in his final year with a class of mainly immigrant and ethnic minority children.

For the first time this year, Berlin did not gender its acting honors, handing out just one Silver Bear for best leading performance, which went to Maren Eggert for her starring role in Maria Schrader's sci-fi screwball comedy I'm Your ManThe best supporting performance honor was awarded to Lilla Kizlinger for Forest — I See You Everywhere, the latest from Hungarian auteur Bence Fliegauf (Womb), which is a series of seven successive domestic disputes, played out by a mixture of professional and nonprofessional actors. 

Hong Sang-soo's Introduction, another minimalist drama from the prolific South Korean filmmaker, this time in black-and-white, won Berlin's Silver Bear for best screenplay, adding to Hong's collection (he won best director in Berlin last year for The Woman Who Ran). 

The Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution went to Yibran Asuad for the editing concept to A Cop Movie, from Mexican helmer Alonso Ruizpalacios, which tears down the fourth wall and mixes documentary and fiction to explore the life of police officers in Mexico City. 

In the Encounters section, meant to highlight films that aim to "foster aesthetically and structurally daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers," the top prize for best film went to We from Alice Diop. Taste from Lê Bao took the special jury award and the best director honor went to two films: The Girl and the Spider from Ramon and Silvan Zürcher, and to Canadian director Denis Cote for Special Hygiene.

The winners were announced by the Berlinale jury Friday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's Berlin Festival has been split into two events. An online-only festival, with the accompanying European Film Market, was held this week, primarily for the international industry. A second, public, festival is planned in Berlin from June 9 to 20.

In this very unusual year, all six members of the international jury voting on Berlin's Gold and Silver Bear honors are former Golden Bear winners.  Four of the six —  Romanian filmmaker Adina Pintilie (Touch Me Not), Italian director Gianfranco Rosi (Notturno), Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanić (Quo Vadis, Aida?) and Hungary's Ildikó Enyedi (On Body and Soul) — watched the 2021 Berlinale competition in person, socially distanced and wearing masks, at a theater in Berlin.

Nadav Lapid (Synonyms) was unable to attend and watched the films from his home in Israel. Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, winner of last year's Berlinale Golden Bear for There Is No Evil, is still under house arrest and unable to leave the country. He took part via a private screening room in his home in Tehran.

This year's winners, as well as numerous selections from across the 2021 Berlinale program, will be screened for the Berlin public at the June Summer Special event. If the pandemic conditions allow it, the festival plans to hold red carpet galas and other events in the presence of the filmmakers.

Here is the full list of 2021 Berlinale winners.


Golden Bear for Best Film

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

Silver Bear for Best Director

Denes Nagy for Natural Light

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Silver Bear Jury Prize

Maria Speth for Herr Bachmann and his Class

Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance

Maren Eggert for I'm Your Man

Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance

Lilla Kizlinger for Forest —I See You Everywhere,

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay

Hong Sang-soo for Introduction

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution

Yibran Asuad for the editing concept to A Cop Movie


Best Film


Special Jury Award 


Best Director

Ramon and Silvan Zürcher for The Girl and the Spider, and Denis Cote for Special Hygiene

Special Mention

Rock Bottom Riser