'Spirited,' 'Sunday' nab top prize

BERLIN — In a surprise double win at the Berlin Intl. Film Festival, Japanese animated pic “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki and British director Paul Greengrass’ “Bloody Sunday,” about the 1972 clashes between British troops and protesters in Northern Ireland, were awarded Golden Bears for best film.

Though Halle Berry was in Berlin to accept the best actress Silver Bear for her role in “Monster’s Ball,” U.S. pics were largely ignored for the second year in a row at the 52nd Berlinale, which wrapped Sunday.

On hand to present the award, writer John Irving called Berry’s perf the best he’s seen “in any movie this year.”

In view of this year’s emphasis on political themes, the choice of “Bloody Sunday” was not surprising. The gritty drama was well received at the festival, as was its message of anti-violence.

“I accept this award on behalf of all the people who are struggling for peace in Northern Ireland,” Greengrass said, adding that Berlin also knows what it means to be divided.

Although it went down well with most viewers, the selection of “Spirited Away” surprised many fest attendees.

Pic, which rocketed to new heights last year at Japan’s box office, is a magical “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”-type tale. Golden Bear win is the first for a Japanese film since 1963, when Tadashi Imai’s “Bushido” also tied with a Euro pic — Gian Luigi Polidoro’s “Amore in Stockholm.”

With four main trophies, the French topped the list of winners: Otar Ioseliani won the director Silver Bear for “Lundi Matin” (Monday Morning); Jacques Gamblin took the actor Silver Bear for his role in “Laisser-Passer” (Safe Conduct), which also won the first ever Silver Bear for music (composer Antoine Duhamel). And the entire female ensemble cast of Francois Ozon’s “8 Femmes” won a Silver Bear for individual artistic contribution.

Announcement of the Grand Jury prize to German pic “Grill Point” was met with thunderous applause. Calling the film a group effort, helmer Andreas Dresen invited the cast and crew on stage, adding that their film was about ordinary people.

Two Australian films, Ivan Sen’s “Beneath Clouds” and “Walking on Water” by Tony Ayres, won a total of four prizes, including the Premiere First Movie Award and the Teddy Award for gay/lesbian film, respectively.

In town for the awards ceremony on Sunday, Motion Picture Assn. prexy-CEO Jack Valenti applauded first-time fest topper Dieter Kosslick for a job well done.

“Kosslick managed to create a first-class festival,” Valenti told Daily Variety. Noting the number of international stars that made an appearance in Berlin, he added, “It’s hard to get stars to do anything.”

Among the thesps to visit the German capital during the Berlinale were Cate Blanchett, Catherine Deneuve, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Keitel, Claudia Cardinale and Geraldine Chaplin, who came for the screening of a new print of her father’s Nazi satire “The Great Dictator,” which followed the ceremony. Also at Sunday’s event, Bryan Adams performed his new ballad “I Will Always Return,” accompanied by Teutonic film composer Hans Zimmer on piano.

(Christian Kohl contributed to this report.)

And the winners are…

COMPETITION JURY AWARDS

GOLDEN BEAR
“Bloody Sunday” (U.K.)
“Spirited Away” (Japan)

SILVER BEARS
Grand Jury Prize

“Grill Point” (Germany)

Actress
Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball,” U.S.)

Actor
Jacques Gamblin (“Safe Conduct,” U.S.)

Director
Otar Iosseliani (“Monday Morning,” France)

Individual Artistic Contribution
The Ensemble Actresses (“8 Femmes,” France)

Film Music
Antoine Duhamel (“Safe Conduct,” France)

Alfred Bauer Prize
“Baader” (Germany)

Blue Angel Award
“Minor Mishaps” (Denmark)

Piper Heidsieck New Talent Awards
Dannielle Hall (best young actress, “Beneath Clouds”)
Hugh Bonneville (best young actor, “Iris”)

Shorts
“At Dawning” (U.K., Golden Bear)
“Brother of Mine” (Sweden, Silver Bear)

Premiere First Movie Award
“Beneath Clouds” (Australia, Competition)
“The Laramie Project” (U.S., special mention)
“Chen Mo and Meiting” (China/Germany, special mention)

MAIN AWARDS BY OTHER JURIES

Ecumenical Jury Prizes
“Bloody Sunday” (U.K., Competition, main prize)
“Tar Angel” (France, Panorama)
“That’s My Face” (USA/Brasilien, Forum)

Fipresci (intl. critics assn.) Prizes
“Monday Morning” (France, Competition)
“Soviets Plus Electricity” (France, Forum)

Guild of German Art House Cinemas Prize
“Grill Point” (Germany)

Berliner Morgenpost Readers’ Prize
“8 Femmes”

CICAE (intl. confederation of arthouse cinemas) Prizes
“Pinero” (U.S., Panorama)
“Light Drops” (Portugal, special mention)
“All About Chou Chou” (Japan, special mention)
“Mothers of Life” (Finnland, Forum)

Prix UIP Berlin
“Relativity” (U.K., short)

LVT/Manfred Salzgeber Prize
“Good Hands” (Estonia/Latvia)
“Guardian of the Frontier” (Slovenia)

New York Film Academy Award
“Golden Gate” (Brazil, short)
“Babies on the Sun” (Canada, NY Film Academy Scholarship)
“The Island” (Iran, special mention)

Panorama Audience Prize
“Blind Spot. Hitler’s Secretary” (Austria)

Kinderfilmfest Intl. Jury Prizes
“Scars” (Norway/Sweden, grand prize)
“Send More Candy” (Denmark/Sweden, special mention)
“Ballet was Cancelled” (Germany, short)

Peace Film Prize
“August – A Moment Before the Eruption” (Israel/France)

Teddys 2001
“Walking on Water” (Australia, best feature)
“All About My Father” (Norway/Denmark, best docu)
“Celebration” (U.S., best short)
“Just a Woman” (France/Iran, jury prize)
“Walking on Water” (Australia, Siegesaeule Readers’ Prize)

Wolfgang Staudte Award
“Wesh Wesh, What’s Going On?” (France)

Caligari Film Prize
“A Lucky Day” (Argentina)

NETPAC Prize
“Chen Mo and Meiting” (China/Germany)
“Fish and Elephant” (China, special mention)

Don Quixote (intl. federation of film societies) Prize
“The Rule of the Game” (Taiwan)
“A Lucky Day” (Argentina, special mention)
“Alexei and the Spring” (Japan, special mention)

Berliner Zeitung Readers’ Prize
“Alexei and the Spring” (Japan, special mention)

(Christian Kohl contributed to this report)

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