The Berlin film festival on Saturday awarded its top prize the Golden Bear to a documentary by French director Nicolas Philibert and his best to an eight-year-old girl in what head judge Kristen Stewart described as “pushing the boundaries”.
On the Adamant, comes more than 20 years after Philibert’s award-winning Be and be, it’s about a floating day care center for the mentally challenged on the Seine in Paris.
Thanking the jury, Philibert, 72, said, “that document can be considered a cinema in its own right that really touched me”.
In a night full of surprises, the festival’s women’s award was presented to eight-year-old Sofia Otero. Spain.
The young actor won the award for playing a transgender child in it 20,000 Types of Beans, is the first film from Spanish director Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren.
Critics have given the film praise. Daily Eyes, for one, it was predicted that “audiences around the world must respond to the sadness, public and human nature of a film that takes a long time to build, but when it comes, it cannot then destroyed.”
Otero, who resisted tears in collecting the award, later told reporters that he was “very grateful, very happy”.
Stewart, at 32 years old, the youngest president in the festival’s history, said the judges asked themselves throughout the week “what makes a film movies and movies”.
They set aside “invisible conditions” in the presentation of the Golden Bear, he said, because “you focus too much on something that you don’t know what to do.
“It’s an entertainment that creates boundaries and therefore gives us the opportunity to expand the meaning of those things, the value of artworks, how to classify them,” he said. said.
It was even more successful for France when Philippe Garrel, 74, won the Silver Bear for best director for Plowing, a story about three siblings from a family of puppets who face the death of their father.
Garrel dedicated the award to his children and French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard, “a great master for many of us”, who died last September.
Second prize received at Fire from German director Christian Petzold, about a group of friends whose retreat vacation on the Baltic coast goes horribly wrong.
Differences called “wincingly well-observed and acidly funny”, while not Hollywood Reporter says it’s a “simple and straightforward but emotional trick”.
Came in third place The Bad Life by the Portuguese Joao Canijo, about some women of the same family who run a bad hotel and are also struggling with their relationships with each other.
On the Adamant It offers a close look at the lives of the elderly and their caregivers in the Paris day care center, which gives an indication of offering them a structured approach.
The film is an “attempt to destroy the image we have” of people with mental disorders, Philibert said.
“The information is deeply rooted. The movie tries to explain it (but) it has a long way to go.”
The Hollywood Reporter praised the film as “warm and enthusiastic”, saying that “it is a picture of many people, despite their handicaps, who can produce originals and works of art”.
French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Philibert and his countrymen on the victory, calling the film a “story of humanity and commitment”.
Writers are often selected in major international film competitions, but rarely win awards.
Last year, the Venice Film Festival awarded its Golden Lion to a documentary about terrorism in the United States by Laura Poitras (All Beauty And Bloodshed).
After two years of reduced schedule due to disease restrictions, the 11-day Berlinale is back this year, with A-listers such as Cate Blanchett, Helen Mirren and Steven Spielberg walking on the red carpet.
The festival, which ranks alongside Cannes and Venice as one of Europe’s top film festivals, also marked the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and four highlights the opposition to the government in Iran with new photos and documents.
19 films from different countries of the world competed for this year’s Golden Bear, which was awarded in a big ceremony by the jury led by Stewart.