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Culture

Pintilie's Touch Me Not wins Berlinale Golden Bear award

media Adina Pintilie wins Berlin's 2018 Golden Bear for her experimental intimacy docu-drama, Touch Me Not Richard Hübner/ Berlinale 2018 copyright

Like other recent high-profile cinema events, gender equality and respect have been manifested thoughout the 2018 Berlinale festival. Pentilie was one of the several women to win recognition for their work from the international juries.

Director Adina Pentilie was overcome when she received her second award of the evening. Touch me Not, is an experimental film, about the senses, sensuality, sensitivity.

With members of her cast standing around her on stage at the Berlinale Palast, she said, "Phew", and addressing one of her protaganists in a wheelchair, "you can collapse afterwards not now!"

Composing herself she went on, "we invite the audience to dialogue about what the film proposes", notably facing one's own, and other's, feelings about intimacy.

Malgorzata Szumowska from Poland, who won the Jury's Grand Prix Silver Bear for her feature film Twarz or Mug - a slang-word for face - was also ecstatic.

Her film tells the story of a man who has a face-transplant after an accident while working on the construction of the biggest statue of Jesus in the world, a statue that actually exists in her country.

The touching and often funny film observes the reactions of the young man's fiancée, his family and the community at large. Szumowska's satire also keenly shows the chain reaction of migrant work. The Poles go to the UK, and the "gypsies" as the local Poles call them, fill their jobs at home.

Szumowska was the only director to thank her make-up artist sepcifically, and with reason, but she also said, "The award is important for this film because it talks about what is going on in Europe and the the world... And I'm so happy to be a female director!"

Las Herederas (The Heiresses), also won two Silver Bears, best actress for Ana Brun and best perspective-opening feature for director Marcelo Martinessi from Paraguay and his first feature film. The film tells the story of a lesbian couple that fall on hard times and looks at how a forced separation changes their lives.

Brun dedicated her award to "the combative women in my country, and in the name of my mother Judith who taught me arts literature and poetry."

The best documentary award went to established Austrian female director Ruth Beckermann for Waldheims Walzer, which looks at the controversy over the rise to the Austrian presidency by the now late, former UN secretary general with a suspected Nazi past, Kurt Waldheim. Beckermann said this subject is of particular concern today.

Even the award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution was won by a female artist, Elena Okopnaya, for her work on the Russian film Dovlatov about censorship and the life of Russian-Jewish writer Sergei Dovlatov.

However, there would be no gender equality if all the prizes went to women.

Popular US comic actor Bill Murray, who plays one of the canines in the animation film Isle of Dogs, received a Silver Bear award for best director on behalf of Wes Anderson. Murray made the audience roar.

"I never thought I'd go out in the morning as a dog and come home in the evening with a bear."

Another happy young man, this one from France, walked off with the Silver Bear for Best Actor, 23 year-old Anthony Bajon, who plays a drug addict who discovers the meaning of life at an all-male Christian rehab centre in Cedric Khan's La Prière (The Prayer), one of the two French entries with Benoit Jacquot's Eva.

"I want to thank all of those who have helped my find confidence in myself from the start," said Bajon humbly.

In the rolling landscapes of the Auvergne, the disorientated Thomas discovers compassion and discipline. Most importantly, he finds a path and love. Unfortunately, the two are incompatible. Bajon shows both physical and mental potential as his character develops.

Bajon is the seventh French actor to win this Silver Bear after the likes of Jean Gabin, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Michel Simon, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Michel Piccoli and Jacques Gamblin.

Alonso Ruizpalacios and Manuel Alcalà took the prize for Best Scenario for Museo, based on the true story of a museum heist in 1985, the year of a great earthquake which left some 5,000 people dead. Ruizpalacio, as he cradled the award, paid homage to the victims of that disaster and more recent quakes in his country.

Less used to the limelight than some of the others, Samuel Inshimwe whose Rwandan-Swiss work called Imfura won the Jury's short film Silver Bear.

"I can dedicate this to all the Rwandan people in everyday life and whose resilience and dignity has really touched me. I don't know what to say. I thank the jury, and I thank all those who've been helping the small growing film-making community in Rwanda. We are very grateful."

Among the other prizes, the Generation Kplus Crystal Bear for the best film in the youth cinema section went to Canadian Luc Picard’s Quebecois film Les Rois Mongols, whose English title is Cross My Heart and is a young person's adventure story, set in the 1970s, a dramatic period of history and confrontation between Free Quebec separatists and Ottawa.

The festival director Dieter Kosslick said on stage at the closing ceremony, "In the films you can react, and we've seen extraordinary films that show things can be different."

 

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