Winterbottom' "World" Wins 2003 Berlinale Golden Bear
by Eugene Hernandez
Michael Winterbottom's "In This World," the story of two Afghan refugees living on the Pakistani border, was awarded the Golden Berlin Bear at the 2003 Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. The film, described as a "semi-documentary," was shot with a digital camera and explores the life of refugees who moved just inside the border after the bombing of Afghanistan began in October of 2001.
The 53rd Berlinale's international jury, president Atom Egoyan along with jurors Humbert Balsan, Kathryn Bigelow, Anna Galiena, Martina Gedeck, Geoffrey Gilmore and Abderrahmane Sissako, unveiled the winners of the Berlin International Film Festival on Saturday afternoon during a brief press conference at the Grand Hyatt here in Potsdamer Platz. Flanked by his jury and festival director Dieter Kosslick, Egoyan read the list of winners.
The Grand Prize Silver Berlin Bear, the number two award at the festival, was given to Spike Jonze's "Adaptation" while the Silver Berlin Bear for best director went to Patrice Chereau for "Son Frere" ("His Brother"). "Adaptation," which received a number of Oscar nominations last week, was one of a handful of American Oscar contenders that were launched into the European marketplace at this year's Berlinale.
In the acting categories, the Silver Berlin Bear for best actress was shared by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore for the Oscar nominee "The Hours," while the Silver Berlin Bear for best actor went to Sam Rockwell for his performance as Chuck Barris in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."
The jury awarded a Silver Berlin Bear for artistic contribution to Li Yang, the writer and director of "Mang Jing" ("Blind Shaft") and a Silver Berlin Bear for best film music went to Majoly, Serge Fiori and Mamadou Diabate for "Madame Brouette."
Wolfgang Becker's German film "Good Bye, Lenin" won the 25,000 Euro Blue Angel award for best European Film. The popular entry opened in theaters here in Germany this weekend. Finally, the Alfred Bauer Prize, recognizing a "work of particular innovation" in memory of the Berlinale founder went to Zhang Yimou's "Ying Xiong" ("Hero").
Awards in more than a dozen other specialized categories were announced as well this weekend. Among the highlights, Nir Bergman's "Knafayim Shvurot" ("Broken Wings"), the story of a middle class Israeli family, won the Panorama audience award. The Teddy award for best queer feature film went to the low-budget, experimental Mexican film "Mil Nubes de Paz Cercan El Cielo, Amor, Jamas Acabaras de Ser Amor" ("A Thousand Peace Clouds Encircle the Sky, Love, You Will Never Stop Being Love") by Julian Hernandez, while the Teddy for best documentary went to Jochen Hick's "Ich Kenn Keinen - Allein Unter Heteros" ("Talk Straight - The World of Rural Queers").
[A report on other winners and a final dispatch from indieWIRE Editor-in-Chief Eugene Hernandez in Berlin will be published in Tuesday's edition of indieWIRE.]