Berlinale Blog “A love letter to cinema”: The winners at the Berlinale

Golden Bear: “Taxi” by Jafar Panahi – Hana Saeidi, the niece of director Jafar Panahi, accepted the prize on his behalf.
Golden Bear: “Taxi” by Jafar Panahi – Hana Saeidi, the niece of director Jafar Panahi, accepted the prize on his behalf. | Photo: Richard Hübner © Berlinale 2015

Iranian director and regime critic Jafar Panahi takes the Golden Bear for “Taxi”, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay Silver Bears for best acting in Andrew Haigh’s splendid chamber drama “45 Years”.

Hanna Saeidi stretches her arm, holding the Golden Bear high and smiling from ear to ear. She’s Jafar Panahi’s niece. His wonderful film Taxi has just won the Bear, but Panahi is not attending. The regime critic is under house arrest at home in Iran, where he shot the film although banned from filmmaking. Taxi is “a love letter to cinema”, said jury president Darren Aronofsky upon announcing the winner. The jury’s decision is a clear-cut signal, a plea for artistic liberty and freedom of speech.

Three Silver Bears go to Latin America

For their splendid acting in Andrew Haigh’s domestic tragedy 45 Years, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay were each awarded a Silver Bear. Three more Silver Bears went to Latin America: Patricio Guzmán’s at times overly emotional documentary The Pearl Button won for best screenplay, Pablo Larain’s powerful drama about clerical abuse El Club was awarded the Jury Grand Prix (i.e. runner-up to Taxi for best film) and the Alfred Bauer Prize (for opening new perspectives on cinematic art) was quite rightly conferred on Jayro Bustamante’s impressive Ixcanul Volcano. The jury was split on best directing between the Romanian Radu Jude (Aferim!) and the Polish filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska (Body).

Schipper’s “Victoria” honoured for outstanding artistic achievement

Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, DoP for the German film Victoria (R.: Sebastian Schipper), received the award for outstanding artistic achievement for his cinematography. The cameramen for the Russian Under Electric Clouds were also honoured for their work in this category. We only wish Schipper’s splendid, powerful drama with its captivating leads (Laia Costa and Frederick Lau) had been awarded another distinction or two.