U2 frontman Bono put in a surprise appearance at the Berlin Film Festival on Tuesday evening to pay tribute to Steven Spielberg as the film director received the event’s Honorary Golden Bear for Life Achievement.
The rock star, who has been at the festival these last few days for the world premiere of the U2-Siege Of Sarajevo documentary Kiss The Future, revealed a special love for Spielberg’s work.
“There are many reasons why people love Steven Spielberg. All of them are valid. Here is mine. It’s very personal but I’m two vodkas in so I’m going to share it with you,” Bono told the awards ceremony.
He named Spielberg’s 1974 drama Sugarland Express, starring Goldie Hawn as a woman who takes a police officer hostage in a desperate bid to reunite with her son before he is placed in care, as a film that had a special place in his film-going memory.
“The entire situation becomes a media sensation as they kidnap a policeman and the world waits and watches to see what will happen,” said Bono.
“It’s a very Spielberg-ian situation. In the cinema, in the ‘womb’ with a view that is cinema. I watch the mother’s face and it’s projected 30 feet tall. The mother is played by the great Goldie Hawn, but all I see is my own mother, as I saw her as a child, gigantic, imperfect.
“I cry though my heart is full of joy because I know that my own mother will always come looking for me. That is pure cinema. No, that is pure Spielberg. The noun is already becoming an adjective.”
Bono suggested that Spielberg had an other-worldliness about him.
“He’s kind of out of this world. He’s not really a celebrity, is he? Thank God for that. We know he’s one of the biggest of the big shots in Hollywood, but we get the sense he doesn’t quite belong there and we’re kind of relieved,” he said.
Referring to Spielberg’s 2001 film A.I., Bono brought up the central character of the boy robot David, who is programmed to show unconditional love with unexpected consequences.
“In A.I., the boy is a machine who develops a soul, so he can love his mother back to life. In the machine that is Hollywood. Steven Spielberg is the soul in the machine and meine damen und herren it is right to honor this historical figure here, in this most historical of cities, Berlin,” he said.
Bono said Spielberg had spent much of his career digging into the past so he could take a better look at what frightens him in the present, referring to films like Schindler’s List, Empire Of The Sun, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Lincoln and Color Purple.
He also brought up Spielberg’s latest film semi-autobiographical film The Fablemans
“The critics love this autobiographical angle and I do too. I only take issue with one suggestion that with this film, Steven Spielberg has finally told his own story. He has been telling his own story all along,” said Bono.
Past recipients of the honorary award include Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Stone, Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve, Kim Novak, Shirley MacLaine, Kirk Douglas, Robert Altman, Jack Lemmon and Meryl Streep.
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