Golden Bear “Fuocoammare” comes out on top

Golden Bear for Best Film: “Fuocoammare” by Gianfranco Rosi
Golden Bear for Best Film: “Fuocoammare” by Gianfranco Rosi | Photo (detail): © Berlinale

In awarding the Golden Bear to Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary film about Lampedusa, the Berlinale has underlined its political orientation.

The Italian island of Lampedusa has become one of the main symbols of the critical situation faced by refugees in Europe. The director Gianfranco Rosi lived on the island for more than a year to record daily life there and shoot Fuocoammare. The film portrays everyday life for a number of the island’s inhabitants and the situation in which the predominantly African refugees who reach the island find themselves, and makes reference to the many fatalities which occur during the sea crossing. The film also received awards from several independent juries: the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, the Amnesty International Film Prize and the Berliner Morgenpost Readers’ Jury Award.

Topical issues on the big screen

The Berlinale is traditionally regarded as a political film festival, an impression that has been significantly boosted this year by the many emotional films that depict hard realities from the perspective of those who experience them. Reports from war-torn areas, tales of racism and the difficulties encountered by immigrants and refugees are addressed in documentary and feature films.

Prizes for South America

A number of productions from Chile and Argentina also won prizes in Berlin. The Teddy’s Special Jury Award, which is devoted to gay, lesbian and transgender issues, went to Alex Anwandter’s film Nunca vas a estar solo (You'll Never Be Alone) about a father who is reconciled with his son after the latter suffers a brutal homophobic attack. The Grand Prix of the International Jury and a special mention by the Youth Jury went to Las Plantas (Plants), which was shown in the Generation 14plus competition. The Chilean-Argentinian co-production Rara won the Grand Prix of the International Jury in the Kplus competition. In addition, the Argentinian short film El inicio de Fabrizio (Fabrizio’s Initiation) won the Crystal Bear of the Children’s Jury.