The competition at the 61st Berlin Film Festival just came to an end so it’s right time to announce some winners!
For the first time in the history of the Berlinale, The Golden Bear went to Iran! Asghar Farhadi‘s drama Nader and Simin, A Separation (a look at contemporary Iranian society) took the top three awards including the Golden Bear for best pic and ensemble male and female casts for actor and actress Silver Bears.
Now, that’s what we call a warm reception!
On receiving his Golden Bear, Farhadi said that he had never thought that he would win and then took a moment to think of his country and his imprisoned colleague Jafar Panahi who had been prevented from coming to Berlin to serve on the International Jury.
Nader and Simin, a Separation follows the title’s couple when the husband, Nader, calls off plans to leave Iran in order to take care of his father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s; Simin responds by heading to court to file for divorce. As the film unfolds, so does the relationship.
But some other projects also deserved our attention.
For example, German drama Sleeping Sickness (about a doctor who runs a medical program in Cameroon) from director Ulrich Koehler took the Silver Bear for director. Or, even better – Hungary’s The Turin Horse, from director Bela Tarr that picked up Jury Grand Prize.
Then, Joshua Marston and Andamion Murataj won a Silver Bear for their screenplay for the Albanian-set drama The Forgiveness of Blood, while Wojciech Staron and production designer Barbara Enriquez took Silver Bears for outstanding contribution for their work on Paula Markovitch‘s The Prize (about a family in hiding during Argentina’s military dictatorship of the 1970s).
German director Andres Veiel received the Alfred Bauer Prize for If Not Us, Who which explores the roots of West German terrorism.
At the end, let us mention that Isabella Rossellini presided over the Berlin competition jury, which also included German actress Nina Hoss, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, Aussie producer Jan Chapman, Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin and British costume designer Sandy Powell.
Take a look at Berlin Film Festival 2011 Competitors
And now, check the full list of winners:
Jodaeiye Nader Az Simin (Nader and Simin, A Separation) by Asghar Farhadi
Silver Bear – The Jury Grand Prize
A Torinoi Lo (The Turin Horse) by Bela Tarr
Silver Bear – Best Director
Ulrich Kohler for Schlafkrankheit (Sleeping Sickness)
Silver Bear – Best Actress
Female Ensemble for “Jodaeiye Nader Az Simin” Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi, Kimia Hosseini and Shirin Yazdanbakhsh
Silver Bear – Best Actor
Male Ensemble for “Jodaeiye Nader Az Simin” Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Ali-Asghar Shahbazi and Babak Karimi
Silver Bear – Best Screenplay
The Forgiveness of Blood written by Joshua Marston and Andamion Murataj
Silver Bear – Artistic Contribution (shared)
Wojciech Staron, Best Cinematography, for The Prize (El Premio) and Barbara Enriquez, Production Design, for The Prize
Alfred Bauer Prize
If Not Us, Who (Wer Wenn Nicht Wir) by Andres Velel
Best First Feature Award
On the Ice by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean
The Guard by John Michael McDonagh
The Fatherless (Die Vaterlosen) by Marie Kreutzer
Nader and Simin, a Separation Synopsis:
Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. She has already made all the necessary arrangements. Nader, however, is having second thoughts. He is worried about leaving behind his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. For this reason he decides to call off the trip altogether. As a result of Nader’s decision, Simin decides to sue for divorce at the family court. When her request is rejected, however, she refuses to live with Nader, moving instead into her parents’ home. Termeh decides to stay with her father, hoping that her mother will soon come back to live with them. Nader finds it difficult to cope with the new situation – not least because it turns out to be so time-consuming. And so he hires a young woman named Razieh to look after his father. This young woman is pregnant and has accepted the job without her husband’s knowledge. One day, Nader arrives home to find that not only has his father been left alone, he has also been tied to a table! When Razieh returns, a blazing row ensues, the tragic consequences of which not only shatter Nader’s life, but also the image his daughter Termeh has of her father.
The Turin Horse Synopsis:
1889. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse while traveling in Turin, Italy. He tossed his arms around the horse’s neck to protect it then collapsed to the ground. In less than one month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would make him bed-ridden and speechless for the next eleven years until his death. But whatever did happen to the horse? This film follows up this question in a fictionalized story of what occurred. The man who whipped the horse is a rural farmer who makes his living taking on carting jobs into the city with his horse-drawn cart. The horse is old and in very poor health, but does its best to obey its master’s commands. The farmer and his daughter must come to the understanding that it will be unable to go on sustaining their livelihoods.
Sleeping Sickness Synopsis:
Ebbo and Vera Velten have spent the better part of the past twenty years living in different African countries. Ebbo is the manager of a sleeping sickness programme. His work is fulfilling. Vera, however, feels increasingly lost in Yaounde’s ex-pat community. She can’t bear the separation from her 14-year-old daughter, Helen, who is attending boarding school in Germany. Ebbo must give up his life in Africa or he risks losing the woman he loves. But his fear of returning to a land now remote to him increases with each passing day. Years later. Alex Nzila, a young French doctor of Congolese origin, travels to Cameroon to evaluate a development project. It’s been a long time since he set foot on this continent, but, instead of finding new prospects, he encounters a destructive, lost man. Like a phantom, Ebbo slips away from his evaluator.