Taviani Brothers Win Berlin Golden Bear

One of the great living auteur collaborations in European film hailed another milestone, with Saturday evening’s win for Italy’s Paolo and Vittorio Taviani of the Golden Bear For Best Film at the 62nd edition of the Berlin International Film Festival. The filmmakers, both in their 80s, were hailed for their prison docu-drama CAESAR MUST DIE, about prisoners in a maximum security prison in Rome who perform Shakespeare’s tragedy JULIUS CAESAR to revelatory results. The filmmakers spent six months following rehearsals for the prison stage production, demonstrating how the universality of Shakespeare’s language helps the actors to understand their roles and immerse themselves in the Bard’s interplay of friendship and betrayal, power, dishonesty and violence. This documentary does not dwell on the crimes these men have committed in their ‘real’ lives; rather, it draws parallels between this classical drama and the world of today, describes the commitment displayed by all those involved and shows how their personal hopes and fears also flow into the performance. Last year’s Golden Bear winner, the Iranian film A SEPARATION, has been one of the big arthouse hits of the year and seems on track to win the Oscar this coming Sunday as Best Foreign Film.

The Hungarian film JUST THE WIND by Bence Fliegauf, about the murder of gypsies in a small rural town and the investigation to uncover the political corruption that allowed it, won the Jury Grand Prize and Silver Bear. The Best Director prize went to local German director Christian Petzold for the fiction film BARBARA, about a doctor in 1980s-era East Germany who tries to defect to the West and suffer isolation and discrimination for her longing for freedom. Rachel Rwanza won Best Actress honors for her role as a child soldier in a war-torn African nation in the Canadian drama REBELLE. Danish actor Mikkel Boe Følsgaard won the Best Actor prize for his role as an unstable monarch in 18th century Denmark who clashes with a doctor filled with revolutionary zeal and enlightenment in A ROYAL AFFAIR. Many other awards were announced at the gala awards ceremony at the Berlinale Palast, but below are the major jury prizes. We will report on other winners of this year’s Berlinale in future postings.

2012 BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS

GOLDEN BEAR FOR THE BEST FILM

Caesar Must Die (Paolo & Vittorio Taviani, Italy)

JURY GRAND PRIX-SILVER BEAR

Just The Wind (Bence Fliegauf, Hungary)

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST DIRECTOR

Christian Petzold for Barbara (Germany)

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST ACTRESS

Rachel Mwanza in Rebelle (Kim Nguyen, Canada)

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST ACTOR

Mikkel Boe Følsgaard in A Royal Affair (Nikolaj Arcel, Denmark)

SILVER BEAR FOR AN OUTSTANDING ARTISTIC CONTRIBUTION

Lutz Reitemeier (cinematographer for White Deer Plain, China)

SILVER BEAR FOR THE BEST SCRIPT

Nikolaj Arcel, Rasmus Heisterberg for A Royal Affair (Denmark)

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