• Germany's news in English
 

Berlin film festival's Golden Bear goes to Italy

Published: 19 Feb 2012 09:39 GMT+01:00

The picture shows real-life murderers and Mafiosi from a high-security jail in Rome staging Shakespeare's tragedy "Julius Caesar", with their own personal dramas giving resonance to the play's themes of betrayal and vengeance.

"We hope that when the film is released to the general public that cinemagoers will say to themselves or even those around them ... that even a prisoner with a dreadful sentence, even a life sentence, is and remains a human being," Paolo Taviani, 80, said.

"Thanks to the sublime and simple words of Shakespeare, these prisoners for a few days came back to life. It was only a handful of days but they experienced passion and energy and I would like to dedicate this to them."

His brother Vittorio, 82, read out the names of the inmates who took part in the film as he accepted the prize from the jury president, British director Mike Leigh, at a gala ceremony late Saturday.

The Jury Grand Prix runner-up prize went to "Just the Wind" by Bence Fliegauf, which was inspired by a spree of killings of Roma in Hungary in 2008 and 2009 in which six people died including a five-year-old boy.

Rachel Mwanza, a 14-year-old from the Democratic Republic of Congo, appearing in her first movie, the moving Canadian child soldier drama "War Witch", accepted the Silver Bear award for best actress from jury member Jake Gyllenhaal.

The film tells the story of Komona, a girl in a country strongly resembling DRC who is snatched from her village by armed rebels, forced to gun down her parents and made her commander's mistress.

Mwanza was one of Kinshasa's street children before director Kim Nguyen discovered her. She learned to read while working on the film.

"I had a very hard life and when I met Mr Kim, I knew that for me it was a chance so that's why I worked hard because I knew this work was going to give me something better in my life," she told reporters.

Denmark's Mikkel Boe Folsgaard, who played mad king Christian VII in a costume drama based on a true story, "A Royal Affair", took best actor.

The film, starring James Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen as the king's personal physician who seduced his queen and with her plotted to bring Enlightenment reforms to the tiny state, also won best screenplay.

Germany's Christian Petzold won best director for "Barbara", a haunting drama about a woman plotting to escape communist East Germany which had been tipped to win at the first major European film festival of the year.

"Caesar Must Die" emerged as an early crowd pleaser among the 18 contenders.

It was the first Golden Bear for Italy since 1991 when "The House of Smiles" by Marco Ferreri claimed the prize.

The Tavianis, known for the socially engaged films they have been making for half a century, captured the Palme d'Or in Cannes in 1977 for "Padre Padrone", which also used amateur actors, and the Jury Grand Prix for "The Night of the Shooting Stars" in 1982.

Last year, the harrowing Iranian family drama "A Separation" captured the Golden Bear and swept the acting prizes and is now nominated for two Oscars.

Its director Asghar Farhadi served on this year's jury.

The Alfred Bauer Prize for a work of particular innovation went to the Portuguese melodrama "Tabu", a two-part black-and-white melodrama set in contemporary Lisbon and colonial Africa about an illicit love affair.

German cameraman Lutz Reitemeier took an award for outstanding artistic contribution for his work on the Chinese epic "White Deer Plain" by Wang Quan'an.

And the jury gave a special Silver Bear to the Swiss drama "Sister" about a young boy who steals skis from a posh Alpine resort to support himself and his older sibling.

Alongside hard-hitting international cinema, the 11-day event offered serious star wattage including Angelina Jolie presenting her directorial debut, "In the Land of Blood and Honey", and Meryl Streep accepting a Golden Bear for her life's work.

AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

Women's World Cup
Germany face off with England for third place
Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

Germany face off with England for third place

England and Germany wipe away the tears as they play for pride and third place at the Women's World Cup in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. READ  

Greece crisis
BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'
Image: BILD/screenshot

BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'

Tabloid Bild continued its campaign against bailouts for Greece on Friday by calling its own "referendum", asking readers to fill out a poll on whether Germany should keep stumping up. German politicians were divided on how the Greek vote would affect Europe. READ  

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar
The Panther tank removed from a cellar in Kiel, with a prosecutors' evidence label attached to its barrel. Photo: DPA

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank. READ  

Merkel summons US envoy over spy claims
Photo: DPA

Merkel summons US envoy over spy claims

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel's office Thursday asked the US ambassador to discuss new allegations about NSA spying, a German government source said. READ  

Google game slammed over use of death camps
Dachau concentration camp. Photo: DPA

Google game slammed over use of death camps

News that Google is using the sites of Nazi concentration camps as elements in an "augmented reality" project - an online game linked to the real world - has caused extreme upset to Holocaust survivors' organizations. READ  

Capturing Berlin with an outsider's eye
A Soviet Cosmonaut mosaic in Potsdam. Photo: Digital Cosmonaut

Capturing Berlin with an outsider's eye

It took a German who spent much of his early life abroad to document some of the hidden, abandoned, or forgotten-about corners of Berlin in English. The Local meets "Digital Cosmonaut", one of Berlin's best-loved bloggers. READ  

Greek President cancels Berlin visit
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos(l) with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Photo: DPA

Greek President cancels Berlin visit

Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of Greece, has cancelled plans to visit Berlin next Tuesday, German media reported on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,858
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd