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Berlin Critics Survey: ‘Taxi,’ ‘The Pearl Button’ and Charlotte Rampling Among the 2015 Favorites

Berlin Critics Survey: 'Taxi,' 'The Pearl Button' and Charlotte Rampling Among the 2015 Favorites

For those that have been following the cinematic developments in the city of Berlin over the past few weeks, it comes as little surprise that Jafar Panahi’s “Taxi” claimed the festival’s top prize. And when we asked the members of our Criticwire Network who attended this year’s festival to give us their favorite films and performances that they witnessed at the Berlinale, many of them echoed the sentiments of the jury.

Taxi” was part of a quartet of titles that threaded through many of these top films lists, also earning equal notice for the filmmakers behind them. “Victoria,” Sebastian Schipper’s unsettling one-take wonder and “The Club,” Pablo Larraín’s follow-up to “No” both accompanied top notice for their stars Frederick Lau and Alfredo Castro.

Andrew Haigh’s “45 Years” also featured 2015’s runaway Lead Performance favorite. As a wife that must cope with fresh news of the fate of her husband’s past love, Charlotte Rampling won the festival’s Best Actress prize. Her co-star Tom Courtenay split mentions in both Lead and Supporting Performances categories, but appeared on nearly every ballot.

The immersive documentary “The Pearl Button” was another title that popped up on a majority of the ballots. Claiming one of the top spots on a half dozen Best Documentary collections, it was easily the most popular doc from our sampling of critics.

The most anticipated title at the outset of this year’s festival was not as ubiquitous among the critical favorites at the close. Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” premiered to a cautiously approving reaction from Berlin writers. Although “Cups” topped one ballot here, Panahi, Larraín and Haigh’s films all garnered significantly more mentions.

The director/performer team of Alex Ross Perry and Elisabeth Moss recaptured some of their “Listen Up Philip” magic with Perry’s latest, “Queen of Earth,” the most-mentioned American film among the ballots. And as the titular literary icon in Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes,” Ian McKellen was also among the top performers.

A handful of films and performances that made appearances on a few of these lists after previously being selected at the end of Sundance, including documentaries like “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “The Forbidden Room.”

A full list of critics’ ballots can be found on the next page.

Kaleem AftabThe National

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
2. Taxi
4. The Forbidden Room 
5. Eisenstein in Guanajauto 
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck 
3. What Happened, Miss Simone?
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Sebastian Schipper, Victoria
2. Jafar Panahi, Taxi
3. Brett Morgan, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
4. Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson, The Forbidden Room
5. Peter Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajauto
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Frederick Lau, Victoria
2. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
3. Elmer Back, Eisenstein in Guanajauto
4. Jafar Panahi, Taxi
5. Alfredo Castro, The Club
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Luis Alberti, Eisenstein in Guanajauto
2. Burak Yirgit, Victoria 
3. Alexander Skarsgard, Diary of a Teenage Girl
4. Cate Blanchett, Cinderella
5. Hana Saeidi, Taxi
BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. Ixcanul 
2. A Minor Leap Down
3. Golden Kingdom
4. Koza
BEST ENSEMBLE
1. Victoria 
2. El Club 
3. 45 Years 
4. Taxi 

Alex BillingtonFirstShowing.com

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. Taxi
2. The Club
4. Petting Zoo
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Pablo Larraín, The Club
2. Wim Wenders, Every Thing Will Be Fine
3. Micah Magee, Petting Zoo
4. Terrence Malick, Knight of Cups
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Christian Friedel, 13 Minutes
2. Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes
3. Devon Keller, Petting Zoo

Peter DebrugeVariety

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. Petting Zoo
2. 600 Miles
3. 45 Years
4. Who Am I: No System Is Safe
5. Taxi
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Micah Magee, Petting Zoo
2. Gabriel Ripstein, 600 Miles
3. Andrew Haigh, 45 Years
4. Baran Bo Odar, Who Am I
5. Jafar Panahi, Taxi
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
2. Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes
3. Devon Keller, Petting Zoo
4. Tim Roth, 600 Miles
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Cate Blanchett, Cinderella
2. Tom Courtenay, 45 Years
3. Laura Linney, Mr. Holmes
BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. Petting Zoo
2. 600 Miles
BEST ENSEMBLE
1. Petting Zoo

Stephen FarberThe Hollywood Reporter

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. Mr. Holmes
2. Elser
3. 45 Years
4. Everything Will Be Fine
5. Love & Mercy
 
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. What Happened, Miss Simone?
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Bill Condon, Mr. Holmes
2. Oliver Hirschbiegel, Elser
3. Wim Wenders, Everything Will Be Fine
4. Ermanno Olmi, Greenery Will Bloom Again
5. Peter Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanauato
 
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
2. Christian Friedel, Elser
3. Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold
4. Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes
5. Tom Courtenay, 45 Years
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy
2. John Cusack, Love & Mercy
3. Milo Parker, Mr. Holmes 
4. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Everything Will Be Fine
 
BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. Ixcanul
 
BEST ENSEMBLE
1. Elser
2. Mr. Holmes
3. As We Were Dreaming

Kenji FujishimaSlant Magazine

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. Taxi 
2. The Pearl Button
3. Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands
4. Kalikbayan #1 Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III
5. Mr. Holmes
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. The Pearl Button 
2. Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands
3. Jia Zhang-ke, a Guy from Fenyang
4. Counting
5. Burn the Sea
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Jafar Panahi, Taxi
2. Patricio Guzmán, The Pearl Button
3. Christian Braad Thomsen, Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands
4. Kidlat Tahimik, Kalikbayan #1 Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III
5. Bill Condon, Mr. Holmes
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Elisabeth Moss, Queen of Earth
2. Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes
3. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
4. Paul Dano & John Cusack, Love & Mercy
5. Dane DeHaan, Life
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Milo Parker, Mr. Holmes
2. Cate Blanchett, Cinderella
3. Tom Courtenay, 45 Years
4. Alexandru Bindea, Aferim!
5. Robert Pattinson, Queen of the Desert
BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. End of Winter
2. Burn the Sea
BEST ENSEMBLE
1. Taxi
2. The Club
3. End of Winter
4. Aferim!
5. Eisenstein in Guanajuato

Jessica KiangThe Playlist

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. 45 Years
2. The Club
3. Queen Of Earth
4. Aferim!
5. Taxi
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. The Pearl Button
2.​ Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands​
3. ​Counting​
BEST DIRECTOR
1.​ Pablo Larraín, The Club
2.​ Andrew Haigh, 45 Years​
3.​ Patricio Guzman, The Pearl Button
4.​ Jafar Panahi, Taxi​
5.​ Radu Jude, Aferim!​
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. ​Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years​
2.​ ​Frederick Lau, Victoria
3.​ Fanny Mallette, Chorus
4.​ Tom Courtenay, 45 Years​​
5.​ Elisabeth Moss, Queen of Earth
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. ​Cate Blanchett, Cinderella​
2.​ Patrick Fugit, Queen of Earth​
3.​ Laura Linney, Mr. Holmes
4.​ Alfredo Castro, The Club​
5.​ Milo Parker, Mr. Holmes
BEST FIRST FEATURE
1.​ Sworn Virgin​
2.​ Victoria​
3.​ 600 Miles ​
BEST ENSEMBLE
1.​ The Club​
2.​ Taxi​
3.​ Victoria​
4.​ Aferim!

Eric KohnIndiewire

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. 45 Years
2. Aferim!
3. Victoria
4. Queen of Earth
5. Ixcanul

Tim RobeyThe Telegraph

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. 45 Years
2. The Club
3. Victoria
4. Taxi
5. Ixcanul
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. The Pearl Button
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Andrew Haigh, 45 Years
2. Pablo Larraín, The Club
3. Patricio Guzmán, The Pearl Button
4. Sebastian Schipper, Victoria
5. Jafar Panahi, Taxi
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
2. Frederick Lau, Victoria
3. Tom Courtenay, 45 Years
4. Ryan Phillippe, 54: The Director’s Cut
5. Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Alberto Castro, The Club
2. Roberto Farias, The Club
3. Mike Myers, 54: The Director’s Cut
4. Justyna Suwala, Body
5. Franz Rogowski, Victoria
BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. Ixcanul
2. 54: The Director’s Cut
BEST ENSEMBLE
1. The Club
2. Victoria
3. 54: The Director’s Cut
4. Taxi
5. Mr. Holmes

Amber WilkinsonEye for Film

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. The Club
2. Que Horas Ela Volta (The Second Mother) 
3. Body
4. Eisenstein In Guanajuato
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. The Pearl Button
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Patricio Guzmán, The Pearl Button
2. Pablo Larraín, The Club
3. Malgorzata Szumowska, Body
4. Radu Jude, Aferim!
5. Peter Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Alfredo Castro, The Club
2. Elmer Bäck, Eisenstein in Guanajuato
3. Alba Rohrwacher, Sworn Virgin
4. Regina Casé, The Second Mother
5. Janusz Gajos, Body
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Antonia Zegers, The Club
2. Karine Teles, The Second Mother
3. Maja Ostaszewska, Body
4. Mihai Comanoiu, Aferim!
BEST ENSEMBLE
1. The Club
2. As We Were Dreaming
3. Body

Neil YoungJigsaw Lounge

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. Knight of Cups
2. The Club
3. Queen of Earth
4. Evilness
5. Ixcanul
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. Hand Gestures
2. The Siren of Faso Fani
3. Flotel Europa
4. Feeling Are Facts – The Life of Yvonne Rainer
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Terrence Malick, Knight of Cups
2. Pablo Larraín, The Club
3. Francesco Clerici, Hand Gestures
4. Michael Zongo, The Siren of Faso Fani
5. Alex Ross Perry, Queen of Earth
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Katherine Waterston, Queen of Earth
2. Alfredo Castro, The Club
3. Laura Tonke, Hedi Schneider Is Stuck
4. Rafael Gil Moran, Evilness
5. Bayin, K
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Zandaraa, K
2. Roberto Farias, The Club
3. Antonia Zegers, The Club
4. Alejandro Goic, The Club
5. Mohammad Reza Golzar, Atom Heart Mother
BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. Hand Gestures
2. Flotel Europa
3. Evilness
4. Ixcanul Volcano (AKA Ixcanul)
BEST ENSEMBLE
1. The Club
2. K
3. Queen of Earth

Alexandra ZawiaWiener Zeitung, Furche, ray, Ípsilon

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. The Club 
2. 45 Years
3. Taxi
4. Queen of Earth
5. Aferim!
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. Over the Years
2. The Pearl Button
3. Haftanlage 4614 (Prison System 4614)
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Pablo Larraín, The Club
2. Jafar Panahi, Taxi
3. Andrew Haigh, 45 Years
4. Radu Jude, Aferim!
5. Werner Herzog, Queen of the Desert
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Janusz Gajos, Body
2. Alba Rohrwacher, Sworn Virgin
3. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
4. Alfredo Castro, The Club
5. Elizabeth Moss, Queen of Earth
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Maria Telón, Ixcanul
BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. Ixcanul 
2. Sworn Virgin
3. 600 Millas
4. Koza
BEST ENSEMBLE
1. 45 Years
2. Body
3. Ixcanul

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