Romanian director Adina Pintilie's “Touch Me Not”, about a woman struggling with intimacy issues and learning to be comfortable with her body, won the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale on Saturday, while Wes Anderson took the Silver Bear for his direction of the animated film “Isle of Dogs”, reports Variety.
The surprise win caught Pintilie off guard. “We were not expecting this,” she said, adding that the film's subject matter, which challenges accepted perceptions of beauty, is “so important.”
While the six-person festival jury, headed by German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, spread its awards broadly, German talent was conspicuously missing from the winners list despite four prominent local titles in competition.
Accepting the award for Anderson, who could not attend the ceremony, Bill Murray quipped, “I never thought I'd go to work as a dog and come home with a bear.” Murray also praised Anderson, saying the director was a lover of film who honored the history of cinema in his own works.
Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize for her drama “Mug”, a film that explores bigotry in its story about a young man forced to undergo face transplant surgery after he is disfigured in an accident. Marcelo Martinessi's Paraguayan lesbian drama “The Heiresses” won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives as well as the best actress trophy for Ana Brun.
French thesp Anthony Bajon won best actor for his role as a young former junkie in Cedric Kahn's “The Prayer”, which centers on a remote home for recovering addicts run by a Catholic priest.
Manuel Alcala and Alonso Ruizpalacios took the best screenplay prize for “Museum,” Ruizpalacios' fact-based comedy-drama. The Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution went to Elena Okopnaya for her costume and production design on Alexey German Jr.'s Russian film “Dovlatov”.
A total of 396 films unspooled in all of the festival's various sections. With approximately half a million admissions and more than 300,000 tickets sold, the Berlinale is considered the largest publicly attended film festival in the world.