Bosnian film 'Grbavica' wins Berlinale top award

20th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

20 February 2006, BERLIN - "Grbavica" by Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic has won the Berlin Film Festival's coveted Golden Bear for best film. The film, about the agony of women raped as part of ethnic cleansing in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was chosen by an eight-member international jury headed by internationally renowned British actress Charlotte Rampling. "Grbavica" was one of 19 films competing for this year's festival's top honours, with most of the movies exploring the hard edge of life and poli

20 February 2006

BERLIN - "Grbavica" by Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic has won the Berlin Film Festival's coveted Golden Bear for best film.

The film, about the agony of women raped as part of ethnic cleansing in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was chosen by an eight-member international jury headed by internationally renowned British actress Charlotte Rampling.

"Grbavica" was one of 19 films competing for this year's festival's top honours, with most of the movies exploring the hard edge of life and politically charged issues.

"I am dreaming this," said 31-year-old Zbanic at the Gala award ceremony event in Berlin. It was her debut feature film.

Zbanic went on to say: "I would like to take the opportunity to remind us all of the fact that the war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic still live undisturbed in Europe."
"Grbavica" was also the first ever movie from Bosnia-Herzegovina to compete at one of the world's most prestigious film festivals.

The jury awarded a Silver Bear to both Danish director Pernille Fischer Christensen's "En Soap" and an Iranian director Jafar Panahi who has battled the authorities both to make films in Iran and to have them shown in the country.

Coming against the backdrop of growing international tensions over Tehran's nuclear program, Panahi's "Offside" looked at another side of Iranian life - the array of restrictions that people face in their everyday life.

In "Offside," Panahi tells the story in a heart-warming comedy of a group trying to trick their way into a football stadium as part of the build-up to the World Cup. Women are not permitted to go to major sporting events.

"I dedicate this prize to those women," said Panahi, who hopes to receive permission to screen "Offside" in Tehran one month before the launch of the World Cup in June in Germany.

In "En Soap," Christensen depicts the story of a young woman who leaves her boyfriend and ends up forming a close friendship with a transsexual.

Christensen also won the First Feature Award for the best directorial debut screened during the 10-day festival. It was the first time that the Berlinale has presented a new award.

Now in its 56th year, the Berlinale is one of the world's top three film festivals.

Speaking prior to the announcement of the awards, Rampling said that the jury believed its decisions "reflect the mood of the world today."

Indeed, politically charged movies were prominent throughout the Berlinale programme with this year's Silver Bear for best director going to both British directors Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross for "The Road to Guantanamo."

Drawing on both documentary and feature filmmaking techniques, the movie provides a powerful account of life at the US military camp based on claims made by three British Muslims who were picked up in Afghanistan and dispatched to the Cuba-based prison for terror suspects.

While German films missed out on the top honours, the nation's actors scooped the major acting awards.

Germany's Sandra Hueller received a Silver Bear for Best Actress for playing Michaela in "Requiem," with leading German actor Moritz Bleibtreu awarded a Silver Bear for Best Actor for his role in "Elementarteilchen" (The Elementary Particles).

Another prominent German actor Juergen Vogel was awarded a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement for his role in "Der Freie Wille" (Free Will). He also produced and co-wrote the film.

The Silver Bear for Best Film Music went to "Isabella" from Hong Kong director Pan Ho-Cheung. Set in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, "Isabella" features the traditional fado music of Portugal.

In addition, the international jury, with US producer Fred Roos, Korean actress Lee Young Ae and legendary Bollywood filmmaker Yash Chopra, awarded the Alfred Bauer Prize to "El Custodio" by Argentinian director Rodrigo Moreno.

Named after the founder of the Berlin Film Festival, the prize is awarded to a feature film that opens up new perspectives in cinema.

DPA

Subject: German news

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