'Marriage' unites Berlin fest jury

Chinese film takes Golden Bear as 57th edition wraps

"Tuya's Marriage," by Chinese director Wang Quan'an, was the surprise winner of this year's Golden Bear for Best Film at the 57th Berlin Inter-national Film Festival.

The Golden and Silver Bears were presented Saturday night at a gala ceremony at the Berlinale Palast.

The story of a Mongolian shepherd forced by encroaching industrialization to abandon the steppes for the city, "Marriage" stars Yu Nan. It was picked from among 22 In Competition films in what most observers called the best Berlin lineup in years.

Accepting the trophy from jury president Paul Schrader, Wang said he couldn't imagine a better gift for Chinese New Year.

"When I started making films, my teacher said film should show people's dreams," he said. "This film made my dreams come true."

German actress Nina Hoss won the Best Actress Silver Bear for her bravura performance as an East German woman trying to escape unemployment and a violent husband by fleeing to the West in Christian Petzold's well-received "Yella."

"I was sure it was going to go to Marianne Faithfull," said a clearly surprised Hoss, referring to the British pop icon who was widely tipped to win for her performance in "Irina Palm" as a woman who turns to a job in a sex club to pay her grandson's hospital bills.

Another surprise was the Best Actor Silver Bear, which went to Argentina's Julio Chavez for his role in Ariel Rotter's "The Other."

Chavez's subdued performance as a man who takes on a new identity after his father dies and his wife becomes pregnant won over this year's jury, which included actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Willem Dafoe, Hiam Abbass and Mario Adorf, producer Nansun Shi and film editor Molly Malene Stensgaard.

"Other" also won the Silver Bear Jury Grand Prix.

The Best Directing Silver Bear went to Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar for his drama "Beaufort," about the last Israeli military unit to leave Lebanon in 2000.

American films didn't go home entirely empty-handed, with Robert De Niro's CIA drama "The Good Shepherd" winning a special Silver Bear for the performance of the film's ensemble, which included De Niro, Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie.

David Mackenzie won a Silver Bear for the use of music in his film "Hallam Foe," the story of a young boy investigating the suspicious nature of his mother's death.

South Korean director Park Chan-wook's departure from revenge dramas, the sci-fi romantic comedy "I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK," divided critics, but its unique visual style was enough to convince the jury to award it this year's Alfred Bauer Prize for work of particular innovation.

"I would like to share this award with my wife," Park said. "She is very unhappy with my career as a director. I am not home for weeks, busy all the time, and even when I am home my head is full of other thoughts. I hope she will now forgive me. When I get home, I hope she will tell our friends, 'My husband is a director, but that's OK.' "

The ceremony was broadcast live on European pubweb 3Sat.

The awards were followed by the premiere screening of Francois Ozon's English-language feature "Angel."

A complete list of winners can be found at www.holly woodreporter.com.