UPDATE, 12 PM PT: In a win for freedom of speech tonight, Iranian director Jafar Panahi was awarded Berlin’s Golden Bear for his latest movie, Taxi — despite being banned from filmmaking in his home country and not being allowed to travel abroad. Taxi was well-received by critics and buyers (Celluloid Dreams has international rights) during the festival. In the film, Panahi set a camera on the dashboard of a yellow cab as it drives through Tehran. He plays the cabbie who interviews the diverse characters that make up his fares.
Panahi previously won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay with 2013’s Closed Curtain, which resulted in its co-director and co-star, Kambozia Partovi — who was present in Berlin that year to accept the prize — having his passport confiscated by the Iranian authorities. Tonight, Panahi’s wife and niece were on hand with the little girl ascending the stage to accept the prize. She was too emotional to speak, she said, and was swiftly comforted by jury members including Matthew Weiner and Audrey Tautou.
Panahi has continued to work, saying in an earlier statement to the festival, “I’m a filmmaker. I can’t do anything else but make films. Cinema is my expression and the meaning of my life. Nothing can prevent me from making films. Because when I’m pushed into the furthest corners I connect with my inner self. And in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more of an urge. Cinema as an Art becomes my main preoccupation. That is the reason why I have to continue making films under any circumstances to pay my respects and feel alive.”
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In other prizes, Pablo Larrain’s dark, and darkly comic, El Club, a treatise on the Catholic church through the prism of a group of exiled priests, was the Grand Jury Prize winner. The acting awards went to Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay for their performances in Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years. The pair play a couple preparing for their 45th wedding anniversary who are rocked by a secret from the past. Rampling noted that she first learned of Berlin when her father won a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics. “As a very competitive young woman, I wanted to achieve something myself in Berlin and perhaps at one stage take the baton from him. Well, I think this bear has doen the trick.” Sundance Selects recently picked up 45 Years.
Darren Aronofsky’s jury also doled out double prizes in two categories: Best Director and Outstanding Artistic Contribution. In the former, Romania’s Radu Jude and Poland’s Małgorzata Szumowska shared the prize for Aferim! and Body, respectively. Presenting the Artistic Contribution Silver Bears, Aronofsky said of the first winner, Victoria cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grovelen, “This film rocked my world.” Of Under Electric Clouds, whose joint DPs are Sergey Mikhalchuk and Evgeniy Privin, Aronofsky said, “The images will stay with everyone for a long time.”
See below for the full list of winners.
PREVIOUS, 10:11 AM PT: Darren Aronofsky and his jury are set to hand out the Golden and Silver Bears for the main competition at the 65th Berlin Film Festival this evening at the Berlinale Palast. After a strong 2014 edition that thrust The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood onto the world stage, this year proved something of a mixed bag. Among the favorites are Pablo Larrain’s exiled priests tale El Club; Charlotte Rampling drama 45 Years, which Sundance Selects acquired at the end of the week; Patricio Guzman’s documentary The Pearl Button; Jayro Bustamante’s Guatemalan debut feature Ixcanul; and banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s Taxi.
But there were also titles that kicked off out of competition and left festgoers wishing they had competed, including Bill Condon’s Mr Holmes and Anton Corbijn’s Life. The big commercial pics that also had out of competition slots here were Cinderella, and a little confection called Fifty Shades Of Grey. See below for prizes as they are announced, as well as awards from the parallel sections:
Golden Bear for Best Film
Taxi, Jafar Panahi
Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
Pablo Larrain, El Club
Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives
Ixcanul, dir: Jayro Bustamante
Silver Bear for Best Director (tie)
Radu Jude, Aferim!
Małgorzata Szumowska, Body
Silver Bear for Best Actress
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Silver Bear for Best Actor
Tom Courtenay, 45 Years
Silver Bear for Best Script
Patricio Guzman, The Pearl Button
Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution in the categories camera, editing, music score, costumes or set design (Tie)
Sturla Brandth Grovlen, Cinematographer: Victoria
Sergey Mikhalchuk and Evgeniy Privin, Cinematographers: Under Electric Clouds
Best First Feature Award for the Best Debut Film
600 Miles, dir: Gabriel Ripstein
Audi Short Film Award
Planet Sigma, dir: Momoko Seto
Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film)
Bad At dancing, dir: Joanna arnow
Golden Bear for Best Short Film
Hosanna, dir: Na Young-kil
Panorama Audience Award – Fiction Film 2015
Que Horas Ela Volta? (The Second Mother), dir: Anna Muylaert, Brazil
2nd Place: Stories Of Our Lives, dir: Jum Chuchu, Kenya
3rd Place: Härte (Tough Love), dir: Rosa von Praunheim, Germany
Panorama Audience Award – Documentary Film 2015
Tell Spring Not To Come This Year, dirs: Saeed Taji Farouky, Michael McEvoy, UK
2nd Place: The Yes Men Are Revolting, dirs: Laura Nix, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno, US/GermanyFrance/Denmark/Netherlands
3rd Place: Iraqi Odyssey, dir: Samir, Switzerland/Germany/Iraq/UAE
Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Panorama section
Out Of Nature, dir: Ole Giæver
Crystal Bears in Generation 14plus
Flocken (Flocking), dir: Beata Gårdeler, Sweden
Special Mention: Prins (Prince), dir: Sam de Jong, Netherlands
A Confession, dir: Petros Silvestros, UK
Special Mention: Nelly, dir: Chris Raiber, Austria
Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International Jury for best feature
The Diary Of A Teenage Girl, dir: Marielle Heller, U.S.
Special Mention: Nena, dir: Saskia Diesing, Netherlands/Germany
Special Prize of the Generation 14plus International Jury for best short film
Coach, dir: Ben Adler, France
Special Mention: Tuolla Puolen (Reunion), dirs: Iddo Soskolne and Janne Reinikainen, Finland
Crystal Bears and Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Awards in Generation Kplus
Min lilla syster (My Skinny Sister), dir: Sanna Lenken, Sweden/Germany
Special Mention: Dhanak (Rainbow), dir: Nagesh Kukunoor, India
Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film
Hadiatt Abi (Gift Of My Father), dir: Salam Salman, Iraq/Great Britain/Netherlands/U.S.
Special Mention: The Tie, dir: An Vrombaut, Belgium
Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the best feature film
Dhanak (Rainbow), dir: Nagesh Kukunoor, India
Special Mention: Min lilla Syster (My Skinny Sister), dir: Sanna Lenken, Sweden/Germany
Special Prize of the Generation Kplus International Jury for best short film
Giovanni En Het Waterballet (Giovanni And The Water Ballet), dir: Astrid Bussink, Netherlands
Special Mention: Agnes, dir: Anja Lind, Sweden
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