Italy's Cesare Deve Morire, the big winner.
At the 62nd annual of the Berlin International Film Festival (February 9-19), the big prize, the Golden Bear for Best Film, went to Cesare Deve Morire (Caesar Must Die), the wonderful movie by the Italian brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Here, Shakespeare’s Caesar is produced in a prison by death row inmates. The experience elevates the prisoners, and gives a boost to the audience, as well.
Two surprises must be mentioned. The Silver Bear for Best Actress was bestowed on the 15-year old African actress Rachel Mwanza for Rebelle. This positive amazement was outdone by a big question mark, the Alfred Bauer Prize for New Perspective that was given to the Portuguese/German/Brazilian/French co-production Tabu, by Miguel Gomes. It was a most pretentious attempt to deal with a love affair way back in colonial Africa.
Hungarian/German/French co-production Csak a Szél (Just the Wind), by Bence Fliegauf, deals with the inbred hatred of gypsies still permeating in the Hungarian countryside and received the festival's Silver Bear for feature film.
German director Christian Petzold received the Silver Bear for Best Director for Barbara.
Director Wang Quan’an’s created a lyrical epic in Bai Lu Yuan (White Deer Plain, below), which surveys the immense changes that wracked China during the first part of the 20th century. German cinematographer Lutz Reitemeier received the Silver Bear for this Chinese masterpiece.
En Kongelig Affaere (A Royal Affair), by Nikolaj Arcel, is a Danish/Czech/Swedish/German co-production that is based on facts and should have been the festival's opening film. It is about a German doctor who, in 1768, befriends the Danish king and becomes his trusted friend, but eventually falls from grace because of his illicit affair with the man's wife — the Queen. The movie received two Silver Bears, one for Best Script and the other for Best Actor (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard as the feeble-minded King Christian VII). — Angelika Jansen
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