Berlin Festival Awards: ‘Touch Me Not’ Wins Golden Bear for Best Film

Romanian director Adina Pintilie’s “Touch Me Not,” about a woman struggling with intimacy issues and learning to be comfortable with her body, won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale on Saturday, while Wes Anderson took the Silver Bear for his direction of the animated film “Isle of Dogs.”

The surprise win caught Pintilie off guard. “We were not expecting this,” she said, adding that the film’s subject matter, which challenges accepted perceptions of beauty, is “so important.”

While the six-person festival jury, headed by German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, spread its awards broadly, German talent was conspicuously missing from the winners list despite four prominent local titles in competition.

Accepting the award for Anderson, who could not attend the ceremony, Bill Murray quipped, “I never thought I’d go to work as a dog and come home with a bear.” Murray described the German capital as wonderful, saying he was “very grateful to have been able to spend time here” and, echoing President John F. Kennedy’s famous line, added,“Ich bin ein Berliner Hund.”

Murray also praised Anderson, saying the director was a lover of film who honored the history of cinema in his own works.

Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize for her drama “Mug,” a film that explores bigotry in its story about a young man forced to undergo face transplant surgery after he is disfigured in an accident.

Marcelo Martinessi’s Paraguayan lesbian drama “The Heiresses” won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives as well as the best actress trophy for Ana Brun.

Accepting the award, Martinessi said: “We live in a very conservative society and it means a lot to win a prize for opening new perspectives.”

French thesp Anthony Bajon won best actor for his role as a young former junkie in Cedric Kahn’s “The Prayer,” which centers on a remote home for recovering addicts run by a Catholic priest.

Manuel Alcala and Alonso Ruizpalacios took the best screenplay prize for “Museum,” Ruizpalacios’ fact-based comedy-drama, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, about two students who break into the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and steal priceless Mesoamerican artefacts.

The Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution went to Elena Okopnaya for her costume and production design on Alexey German Jr.’s Russian film “Dovlatov,” about the late Russian dissident writer Sergei Dovlatov.

Looking back on the last 10 days, Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick offered an upbeat assessment of this year’s fest. “It was a very special atmosphere this year. There were lots of smiles and sunny skies. The people were as diverse as the films.”

Recounting some of the most special moments at the event, Kosslick said he particularly enjoyed Ed Sheeran’s impromptu performance at the Berlinale Special Gala screening of “Songwriter,” Murray Cummings’ documentary about the English singer.

Of the 24 films that screened in the 68th Berlin Film Festival’s competition section, 19 vied for the Golden Bear, among them such international productions as Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” starring Joaquin Phoenix;  and David and Nathan Zellner’s Western comedy “Damsel,” starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska.

A total of 396 films unspooled in all of the festival’s various sections. With approximately half a million admissions and more than 300,000 tickets sold, the Berlinale is considered the largest publicly attended film festival in the world.

See the full list of winners below.

Winners of the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival

Golden Bear for Best Film: “Touch Me Not,” Adina Pintilie

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize: “Twarz” (“Mug”), Małgorzata Szumowska

Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize: “The Heiresses,” Marcelo Martinessi

Silver Bear for Best Director: Wes Anderson, “Isle of Dogs”

Silver Bear for Best Actress: Ana Brun, “The Heiresses”

Silver Bear for Best Actor: Anthony Bajon, “The Prayer”

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay: Manuel Alcalá and Alonso Ruizpalacios, “Museum”

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution, Costume or Set Design: Elena Okopnaya, “Dovlatov”

Audi Short Film Award: “Solar Walk,” Réka Bucsi

Silver Bear for Short Film Jury Prize: “Imfura,” Samuel Ishimwe

Golden Bear for Best Short Film: “The Men Behind the Wall,” Ines Moldavsky

Best First Feature: “Touch Me Not,” Adina Pintilie

Berlinale Glashütte Original – Documentary Prize: “The Waldheim Waltz,” Ruth Beckermann

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