April 2, 2023


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French doc ‘On the Adamant’ is the surprise Berlin Golden Bear winner

7 min read

Veteran French docmaker Nicolas Philibert was the surprise winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, accepting the award for “On the Adamant,” a harrowing observational study of a Paris mental health care facility.

He accepted the award from jury president Kristen Stewart, while the star delivered an extended and clearly heartfelt tribute to the film’s humanity and simplicity: “People have gone in circles for thousands of years about what can be considered art, who can be allowed to. trying to identify what it does and what determines its value,” he said, citing the boundary-pushing nature of the festival and name-checking opposing philosophers such as Aristotle, Barthes, Sontag and Beavis and Butthead, before concluding, “For all of us, You know it when you see it.”

It’s a fitting way to introduce a film that stood out in this year’s competition lineup for its emotional directness and lack of formal fuss. A candid and sometimes humorous survey of the daily routines of The Adamant, a waterfront daycare facility for people with a variety of mental disorders, it speaks not only to cinephiles, but to anyone: as does Philibert’s 2002 arthouse hit “Être et Avoir.” A poignant, unvarnished study of a rural school, it centers on the universal values ​​of care and compassion. describing it as “a warm reminder of Filbert’s perceptive gifts”. diversityIts critic noted that the film’s “human subjects are both expressive and extremely vulnerable, exposed to the low-key, non-invasive presence of the camera.”

Visibly shocked, the 72-year-old Frenchman was slightly less lyrical than Stewart when accepting his award: “Are you crazy or not?” He addressed the jury, which also included filmmakers Radu Judd, Carla Simon, Johnny Too and Valeska Griesbach, actor Golshifteh Farahani and casting director Francine Meisler. Putting himself together, Philibert claims to be “humbled, proud and deeply moved,” describing his film as an attempt to reverse public preconceptions of the mentally ill and remind us that “crazy people are not who we think they are.”

Philibert’s film was the only documentary in the competition; Its win marks the second consecutive win for a nonfiction film at the three major European festivals, after Laura Poitras’ Oscar-nominated “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” took the Golden Lion at Venice in September.

Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, established male filmmakers dominated the awards competition, with venerable German writer-director Christian Petzold taking home the Grand Jury Prize for his elegant tragicomedy Ritual “Affair” — hailed by diversity as “subtly thrilling and moving” — while veteran French New Wave auteur Philippe Garrel won best director for his family-focused chamber piece “The Plug.” (diversity(its Jessica Kiang was less convinced than the jury, dismissing it as “a low-stakes trifle.”) Both filmmakers used their acceptance speeches to pay tribute to recently passed directors meaningful to them, with Petzold honoring Spain’s Carlos Saura and Garrel shouting out “The Great Master” is out of Jean-Luc Godard.

Portugal’s João Canizo won the jury prize for his hotel-based tale of warring mothers and daughters, “Bad Living,” which premiered in competition as one half of a diptych. (Its counterpart, “Living Bad,” was not spooled in the Secondary Encounter competition and did not receive an award.) The austere German formalist Angela Schönleck was the only female director awarded by the jury, winning the screenplay prize for “Music,” her experimental, playfully mystical riff on “Oedipus Rex” – praised by the jury presenting Judd as “a great film that defies the bookkeepers”.

If female filmmakers get surprisingly short shrift — with critical favorites like Mexican director Leila Aviles’ kaleidoscopic family portrait “Totem” and Celine Song’s harrowing Sundance smash “Past Lives” going unrewarded — female performers make up for the festival’s gender-neutral performances. Reigned in third prize. During the year, both leading and supporting awards went to deeply felt portrayals of transgender characters.

Nine-year-old Spanish newcomer Sofia Otero narrates diversity “Absolutely winning” took the top prize for the show’s endorsement of asserting her gender identity in the gentle drama “20,000 Species of Bees” during a summer vacation as a young girl — while Stewart praised the young actor’s denial of “a [filmmaking] system designed to diminish the intelligence of the performer, especially when the performer is a child.” (Having been acting since the age of eight, Stewart knows of what he speaks.) A tearful Otero ate the audience out of his hands as he gave his moment in a very drenched in a long acceptance speech that thanked every member of his extended family.

German transgender performer Thea Ehr, whose tender-tough performance as a trans ex-con roped into a secret drug bust is a standout quality in the mildly reviewed thriller “Till the End of the Night,” which won the supporting award — a category that Whether he saw the film can be debated. Thanking her director Christoph Hochhäusler for casting her as “a very strong woman,” she began to thank her parents more deeply for “always giving me room to be what I wanted to be.” Ehre’s Joy Festival Awards marks a representative milestone in the world; Tonight it felt like a barrier had been broken.

Rounding out the competition awards, the Artistic Contribution Award went to French cinematographer Hélène Louvert, a fixture of the Euro-arthouse and US indie scenes alike, for her brilliant lensing of Italian director Giacomo Abbruzzese’s debut feature “Disco Bow”. Uncomfortable with receiving the award himself, he invited the Abruzzis to co-accept; He went on to wax lyrical about “the most artistically fulfilling collaboration of my life”.

Out of competition, Belgian director Bas DeVos topped the Encounter competition for “Here,” his quiet, stirring paean to human kinship and the silent natural world; He thanked the individual Encounter jury — which included Georgian director Dia Kulumbegashvili, Greek actor Angeliki Papolia and Italian programmer Paolo Moretti — “for seeing the film we were quietly hoping they would see.”

Further proving the power of both nonfiction cinema and transgender talent at this year’s awards, trans filmmaker Paul B. Preciado won a Special Jury Prize for his radical, self-exploring, literary riff on “Orlando, My Personal Biography,” not initially realizing he was Coming to the stage to receive the award. “It’s not the place I’m usually used to — I’m just a trans and nonbinary writer” for writing my biography in 1928, he said, before earning one of the biggest laughs of the evening by thanking Virginia Woolf.

Mexican docmaker Tatiana Huejo, who recently achieved major success with her first fiction feature “Prayers for the Stolen” – for her acclaimed return to non-fiction – took home the best director at Encounters and top awards from separate documentary juries. Echo,” an immersive portrait of a rural community diversity “As a nicely textured film [about] How children’s lives echo the lives of their parents.” Thanking those “who believed in me and were with me all these years,” Huejo concluded by describing documentary filmmaking as “a path of resistance, an act of love and faith.” Tonight’s awards make clear Given that the path is getting a little less rocky.

Complete list of winners:


Golden Bear for Best Film: “On the Adamant,” Nicholas Philibert

Silver Bear Grand Jury Award: “Fire,” Christian Petzold

Silver Bear Jury Award: “Bad Living,” Joao Canizo

Silver Bear for Best Director: “The Plug,” Philip Garrel

Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance: “20,000 Species of Bees,” Sophia Otero

Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance: “Until the end of the night,” Thea Ehre

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay: “Music,” Angela Shanelake

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution: “Disco Boy,” Helen Louvert, cinematography

face to face

Best Film: “Here,” Buss DeVos

Best Director: “The Echo,” Tatiana Huejo

Special Jury Award: (former) “Orlando, My Political Biography,” Paul B. Preciado; “Family,” Lois Patino

Berlinale Documentary Award

Best Documentary: “The Echo,” Tatiana Huejo

Special mention: “Orlando, My Political Biography,” Paul B. Preciado

GWFF is the best first feature

Best First Features: “The Klezmer Project,” Leandro Koch, Paloma Shahman

Special mention: “The Bride,” Maryam U Birara

Berlinale shorts

Golden Bear: “Les Chenilles,” Michel Kesarwani, Noel Kesarwani

Silver Bear: “Dipped in Black,” Matthew Thorne, Derrick Lynch

Special mention: “It’s a date,” Nadia Parfan

Previously announced:

Audience Award

Panorama Audience Award: “Cira,” Apolline Traore
Second prize: “Understood,” Amr Gamal
Third Prize: “Midwives,” Leah Fehner

Panorama Documentary Audience Award: “Kokomo City,” d. Smith
Second prize: “Eternal Memory,” Maite Alberdi
Third Prize: “Cinema Graveyard,” Thierno Solaimane Diallo

Independent Jury Award

Ecumenical Jury reward
Competition: “Totem,” Lila Aviles
Panorama: “Midwives,” Leah Fehner
Forum: “Where there is no God,” Mehran Tamadan
Special mention: “On the Adamant,” Nicholas Philibert

Competition: “Survival of Kindness,” Rolf de Heer
Encounter: “Here,” Buss DeVos
Panorama: “The Quiet Magician,” Malen Choi
Forum: “In Revolution,” Vlad Petri

Teddy Award
Best Feature Film: “All the colors of the world are between black and white,” Babatunde Apollo
Best Documentary/Essay Film: “Orlando, My Political Biography,” Paul B. Preciado
Best Short Film: “Dipped in Black,” Matthew Thorne and Derrick Lynch
Jury Award: Vicky Knight, Performance, “Silver Hedge”
Special Teddy Award: Sunny Bunny, Queer Film Award at the Molodist Film Festival in Kiev

CICAE Art Cinema Award
Panorama: “Teacher’s Lounge,” Ilker Chatak
Forum: “Jellyfish Face,” Melissa Liebenthal

Guild Film Awards: “20,000 species of bees,” Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren

Label Europa Cinemas: “Teacher’s Lounge,” Ilker Chatak

Caligari Film Awards: “De Facto,” Selma Doborak

Peace Film Award: “Seven Winters in Tehran,” Steffi Niederzoll

Amnesty International Film Award: “Understood,” Amr Gamal

Heiner Caro Award: Fabian Stamm, screenwriter, “Bones and Names”

Compass-Perspective Award: “Seven Winters in Tehran,” Steffi Niederzoll
Special mention: “The Kidnapping of the Bride,” Sophia Mokorea

AG-Kino Gilde Cinema Vision 14Plus: “And the king said, what a great machine,” Axel Danielson and Maximilian van Aertrick

Other awards

Berliner Morgenpost Readers’ Jury Prize: “20,000 species of bees,” Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren

Tagesspiegel Readers Jury Award: “Orlando, My Political Biography,” Paul B. Preciado

Development Award

Compagnon Fellowship: “Paraphrase in Search of a Glove,” Marieke Wegener; “The female body of my beloved man,” Anna Melikova

Artechino International Award: “Peeling Skin,” Leonie Krippendorff

Eurimage Co-Production Development Award: “Ivan and Hadum,” by Ian de la Rosa

Eurimages Special Co-Production Development Award: “blind sight,” Ruslan Batitsky

VFF Talent Highlight Award: “The Cumbia of God and the Devil,” Carlos Lenin

Talents Footprint (Mastered Enablement Program): “Transstories,” Carlos Ormeno Palma; “We film MX,” Miguel Angel Sanche; “Majoaneng,” Philip Leteca

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