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Culture

Peruvian Survivors' Tale Takes Home Berlinale's Golden Bear

The awards for the 59th Berlin International Film Festival were handed out on Saturday, Feb. 14. Winning the prestigious Golden Bear was a Peruvian film "The Milk of Sorrow."

Peruvian-born Claudia Llosa, second from right, with her Golden Bear, the Berlinale's top prize

Peruvian-born Claudia Llosa, second from right, with her Golden Bear, the Berlinale's top prize

The story of women who were raped during Peru's two decades of guerrilla war was awarded the top prize at the Berlinale on Saturday evening. In awarding the prize to "La Teta Asustada," jury president Tilda Swinton said the decision of the jurors had been unanimous.

The melancholy co-production with Spain revolves around the character of Fausta, a child of rape. It was the first time Peru has been included in the main competition category.

"This is for Peru. This is for our country," Peruvian-born director Claudia Llosa told the awards ceremony.

Adrian Biniez from Argentina, director of Gigante

Adrian Biniez from Argentina, director of "Gigante"

One person frequently on the stage in Berlin during the awards presentation was Argentine Adrian Biniez, who was recognized for his debut feature "Gigante," the story of a guard in a grocery store who develops an obsession with one of his co-workers. His film won a special jury prize, a Silver Bear for best debut film and the Alfred Bauer prize, which is awarded for opening up new perspectives in cinema.

Biniez shared the prize with veteran Polish director Andrzej Wajda, who was honored for his movie "Sweet Rush." It is a deeply personal story about an older woman whose life in turned upside down by a younger man, who drowns.

But intertwined in "Sweet Rush" is also the story about the death of the acclaimed Polish cinematographer Edward Klosinski, who was the husband of the movie's main actress Krystyna Janda and who died during the film's shooting.

'International' not just in festival name

Asghar Farhadi

Top directing honors went to Iranian Asghar Farhadi for "About Elly"

The Silver Bear for best director went to the Iranian director his drama "About Elly" about a woman who vanishes on a weekend outing with friends.

Israel-born screenwriter-turned-director Oren Moverman won a silver bear for scriptwriting for "The Messenger," about two US soldiers who deliver the message to families that their loved ones have been killed in combat. Moverman co-wrote the script with Alessandro Camon.

The German film "Everyone Else," about a woman in a relationship put to a severe test, took home two prizes. Austrian actress Birgit Minichmayr was awarded a Silver Bear for her role in the film and a special jury prize went to director Maren Ade.

Birgit Minichmayr

Birgit Minichmayr with her award for best actress

The winner of the Silver Bear for best actor was Sotigui Kouyate. The Mali native took home the trophy for his role in the drama "London Driver." In the film, he plays a father looking for his son after the July 2005 terrorists attacks in the British capital.

Kouyate deviated from the usual list of thank-you's in his acceptance speech. The accomplished storyteller took a seat on the stage and regaled the audience with several stories.

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