Monday, February 20, 2006

Berlinale salutes politics (largely)

The Berlinale closed this weekend, with the international jury rewarding a very diverse selection of films and giving the most high-profile awards to two hard-hitting films. The coveted Golden Bear went to Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic for "Grbavica", which also picked up the prize from the ecumenical jury. In a touching speech quoted by Screen International, she said: "Thank you for being so liberal for inviting a small film from such a small country and a small budget. Although the war in Bosnia ended some 13 years ago, war criminals Karadzic and Mladic still live in Europe freely. They have not been captured for organising [the] rape of women in Bosnia, killing 100,000 people and expelling 1 million people from their houses. This is still Europe and no-one is interested in capturing them. I hope this [film] will change your view of Bosnia and this Bear will not be disappointed when he sees Bosnia."

The other major award went to Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross's "The Road To Guantanamo", shown days before the UN report on the camp. The people portrayed in the film were present at the screening.

Other prizes include a split Grand Jury Award for Pernille Fischer Christensen's "En Soap/A Soap" and Jafar Panahi's "Offside",

Click here for the full list of Berlinale winners.

UPDATE FEB 22: Since winning at Berlin, the mother-and-daughter tale "Grbavica" has been picked up for Austria (where it will premiere at the Women's Film days FrauenFilmTage on March 2) and Germany.

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