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'Touch Me Not' wins Berlinale's Golden Bear award

February 24, 2018

A confrontational film on intimacy and sex, "Touch Me Not" by Adina Pintilie won the most prestigious award of the Berlin International Film Festival. Silver Bears were also awarded in different categories.

Berlinale Competition 2018 Touch Me Not
Image: Manekino Film, Rohfilm, Pink, Agitprop, Les Films de l'Etranger

The Berlin International Film Festival's top award, the Golden Bear, as well as the Silver Bears in several different categories were handed out at a ceremony on Saturday. 

The International Jury definitely didn't follow the advice of critics by picking "Touch Me Not," directed by Romanian artist and director Adina Pintilie. Blurring the borders between documentary and fiction, her movie is an open exploration of physical intimacy and sexuality; its content shocked many viewers. Pintilie also won an award for best debut film earlier on during the ceremony.  

Read more: Opinion: Berlinale jury was bold to pick 'Touch Me Not'

Among the 19 films running in the competition, the following works also obtained an award:

  • Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize: "Mug" by Malgorzata Szumowska (Poland)
  • Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, for a feature film that opens new perspectives: "The Heiresses" by Marcelo Martinessi (Paraguay) 
  • Silver Bear for Best Director: Wes Anderson, for "Isle of Dogs"
  • Silver Bear for Best Actress: Ana Brun, for her performance in "The Heiresses"
  • Silver Bear for Best Actor: Anthony Bajon for his role in the French film "The Prayer" by Cédric Kahn
  • Silver Bear for Best Screenplay: Manuel Alcala and Alonso Ruizpalacios, who's also the director of the Mexican entry, "Museum" 
  • Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution in the categories camera, editing, music score, costume or set design: Elena Okopnaya, costume designer on "Dovlatov" by Alexei German Jr.

Read more: Past Golden Bear winners: From Altman to Ang Lee

German filmmaker and producer Tom Tykwer was head of the jury. The other jury members accompanying him in the task of selecting the winning films were Belgian actress Cécile de France, Chem Prado, photographer and former director of the Spanish National Cinemateque, US producer Adele Romanski, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and US film critic Stephanie Zacharek.

Read more: Berlinale 2018: Meet the jury

Film still from Las herederas /The Heiresses
Marcelo Martinessi's award-winning "The Heiresses" is the first Paraguayan entry in the festivalImage: lababosacine

The independent jury awards

A day before the Golden and Silver Bears were handed out, different independent jury prizes were awarded.

The FIPRESCI jury, representing the International Film Critics Association, selected the Paraguayan film "The Heiresses," by Marcelo Martinessi. The movie centering on a middle-aged lesbian couple also obtained a nod from the queer community, winning the Teddy Readers' Award.

German director Thomas Stuber's "In the Aisles" received two awards — the Guild Film Prize, whose jury is composed of members of the association of German Art House Cinemas, along with one from the Ecumenical Jury, which represents the international film organisations of the Protestant and Catholic Churches. The latter additionally granted a special mention to Norway's "U — July 22," a controversial film about the 2011 mass murder in Norway directed by Erik Poppe.

The Berliner Morgenpost Reader's Jury Award was given to the Russian entry "Dovlatov," by Alexei German Jr. 

Portrait of a young woman with red hair and glasses
Elizabeth Grenier Editor and reporter for DW Culture