'Grave Decisions' takes top Bavaria nods


COLOGNE, Germany -- "Grave Decisions," a quirky comedy about childhood, religion and death from first-time director Marcus H. Rosenmueller was the big winner at the 28th annual Bavarian Film Awards, taking the best film and newcomer awards.

The comedy, in which the actors speak in almost incomprehensible Bavarian accents, was a sleeper hit in Germany, where it earned more than $10 million at the boxoffice.

The literary adaptation "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," which earned five times that in Germany alone, took the best director nod for helmer Tom Tykwer and best set design for Uli Hanisch's recreation of 18th-century Paris.

Chris Kraus' "Four Minutes," which already has scooped several international awards, including top honors at the Shanghai International Film Festival, took home three Bavarian Film Awards Friday night -- best script for Kraus and acting nods for stars Monica Bleibtreu and Hannah Herzsprung. Herzsprung won in the best newcomer category.

Bleibtreu shared her best actress award with another German vet, Katharina Thalbach, who was honored for her starring performance in Volker Schloendorff's "Strike," in which she plays a nearly illiterate woman who becomes one of the founders of Poland's Solidarity union.

"Strike" also won best cinematography for cameraman Andreas Hofer.

Juergen Vogel added to the plethora of awards he earned in the past year by talking home best actor for the tragicomedy "Emma's Bliss," in which he plays a man dying of cancer who falls in love.

The best documentary prize went to Florian Borchmeyer and Matthias Hentschler for their look at Cuba's crumbling capital city: "Havana -- The New Art of Building Ruins."

Gregor Schnitzler's nuclear plant disaster film, "The Cloud," won in the best youth or children's film category.

A special jury prize was awarded to Joseph Vilsmaier and Dana Vavrova for "The Last Train," a harrowing look at the journey of 688 Berlin Jews in a cattle train bound for Auschwitz.

The lifetime achievement award went to multihyphenate Michael Verhoeven.

The Bavarian Film Awards, one of Germany's top film honors, were presented at a gala ceremony in Munich Friday night.