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Berlin Film Festival: ‘On Body and Soul’ Wins Golden Bear for Best Film

Ildikó Enyedi’s Hungarian drama “On Body and Soul” won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday.

Set in a Budapest slaughterhouse, the tender love story follows the burgeoning romance between a shy young women and her similarly quiet older boss as the two discover that they have the same dreams at night.

The international jury, headed by Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, handed out prizes far and wide, awarding a broad range of international works.

Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis’ Kinshasa-based drama “Félicité,” about a strongly independent and passionate singer in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa who is forced to raise money for her son’s operation, won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize.

The Silver Bear Alfred Bauer prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives went to Agnieszka Holland’s murder mystery “Spoor.”

Aki Kaurismäki won the best director award for “The Other Side of Hope,” about a young Syrian refugee in Helsinki. The Finnish helmer caused some consternation for the jury and show host Anke Engelke when he declined to go on stage to accept the Silver Bear, forcing the presenters to bring the prize to his seat.

Kim Min-hee, star of Hong Sangsoo’s South Korean drama “On the Beach at Night Alone,” won the best actress Silver Bear, while Georg Friedrich won the best actor award for his performance in Thomas Arslan’s German drama “Bright Nights.”

Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza won the best screenplay award for Lelio’s Chilean drama “A Fantastic Woman,” about a woman dealing with the loss of her older, married lover, while Dana Bunescu, editor of Romanian drama “Ana, Mon Amour,” won the outstanding artistic contribution award.

Spanish director Carla Simon’s “Summer of 1993” won the first feature award, while “Ghost Hunting” by Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni earned the Berlinale’s newly established Glasshütte Original Documentary Award.

Of the 24 films that screened in the 67th Berlin Film Festival’s competition section, 18 vied for the top prizes, among them such international productions as Oren Moverman’s “The Dinner,” starring Richard Gere; Stanley Tucci’s “Final Portrait,” with Geoffrey Rush and Armie Hammer; Gurinder Chadha’s “Viceroy’s House”; and Volker Schlöndorff’s “Return to Montauk.”

Among the fest’s short films, Diogo Costa Amarante’s Portuguese work “Small Town” nabbed the Golden Bear, with Mexican director Esteban Arrangoiz Julien’s “Reverie in the Meadow” taking silver and Karam Ghossein’s Lebanese entry “Street of Death” winning the Audi short film award.

Speaking briefly on stage, Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick thanked the filmmakers for striving “to save the world with poetry,” a sentiment echoed by a number of the winners.

A total of 399 films unspooled in all of the festival’s various sections. With an estimated half a million admissions and more than 300,000 tickets sold, the Berlinale is considered the largest publicly attended film festival in the world.

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