- Middle East/North Africa
BERLIN — A Romanian movie about an upper-middle class family covering up for a hit-and-run carried out by its son has earned the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival’s Golden Bear Prize, marking the end of a largely unremarkable festival that left most critics underwhelmed.
A mini-soap opera focused on a dysfunctional mother-son relationship and touching upon the rise of the nouveau riche and government corruption in present-day Bucharest, Pozitia Copilului’s “Child’s Pose” won over the Wong Kar-Wai-led jury, snatching the honor from critics’ favorite, Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria.”
Oscar-winning Bosnian director Danis Tanovic (“No Man’s Land”) received the Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear) for “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” a harrowing, low-budget, matter-of-fact recreation of the nightmare suffered by a real-life Roma couple when a hospital refused to treat the wife for owning no insurance. Playing himself with a heightened and startling degree of self-consciousness, Bosnian worker Nazif Mujic was given the best actor award for the same film.
Veteran Chilean TV actress Paulina Garcia scooped the best actress gong for her performance as an elderly single divorcee trying to find romance in the crowd-pleasing comic-drama “Gloria,” the best reviewed competition film. Garcia has beaten off strong competition from the likes of Juliette Binoche (“Camille Claudel, 1915”), Luminita Gheorghiu (“Child’s Pose”) and Catherine Deneuve (“Elle s’en va”).
American indie maverick David Gordon Green was the surprise winner of the best director award for “Prince Avalanche,” a studio-backed buddy comedy revolving around two workers coming in terms with growing up, failure and domestic life. The film stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch.
The best script award went to jailed Iranian filmmaker for “Closed Curtain,” one of the most divisive entries in this year’s edition. An experimental picture about art, confinement and the mysteriousness of creation, “Closed Curtain” was Panahi’s second film shot in secret after the 2011 documentary, “This is Not a Film.” The “Offside” director remains banned by the Iranian authorities from making films and leaving his country.
The Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives went to another divisive entry, Canadian helmer Denis Cote’s “Vic+Flo ont vu un ours,” a quirky lesbian romance/revenge thriller starring Pierrette Robitaille and Romane Bohringer.
Two tepidly received films were given a special mention by the jury: Gus Van Sant’s issue picture, “Promised Land” starring Matt Damon, and Pia Marais’ South Africa-set drama, “Layla Fourie.”