Iranian director Asghar Farhadi scooped three awards with his film about marital strife as the Berlinale film festival drew to a close. Other winners came from Germany, Argentina, Albania and Hungary.
Farhadi spoke of solidarity with an imprisoned fellow director
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi emerged as the major winner at the Berlinale attracting a string of awards with his film about a couple who want a divorce that they are not granted.
Not only did the movie "Jodoeiye Nader az Simin" (Nader and Simin, a Separation) win the film festival's prestigious Golden Bear for best motion picture, it also picked up awards for the best actor and actress.
While it is a film about a couple, Nader az Simin looks at wider issues in Iran
Those honors went to the entire male and female cast of the film, which also explores Iran's class division and religious conservatism.
Accepting his award, Farhadi praised his fellow Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was unable to accept an invitation to sit on the main jury after being sentenced to six years in prison. Panahi, 50, is accused of inciting protests in 2009 and with making a movie without the permission.
"I want to remind you of Jafar Panahi," Farhadi told the audience. "I really think his problem will be solved, and I hope he will be the one standing here next year."
Farhadi was a prize winner at the festival two years ago, winning a Silver Bear for best director.
Hungarian runner-up divides opinion
Hungarian director Bela Tarr won the festival's Grand Prix, considered the next most prestigious prize after the Golden Bear, for his black-and-white film "A Torinoi Lo" (The Turin Horse).
Tarr has suggested that the solemn movie about an ageing farmer and his daughter's bleak lives will be his last. The movie divided opinion, with some critics labeling it repetitive.
"Wer Wenn Nicht Wir" traces the origins of violent far-left politics in Germany
Tarr and Farhadi's movies had both been tipped as the clear contenders to win by critics ahead of the awards ceremony that serves as a climax to the film festival.
German winners address serious issues
German director Andres Veiel lifted the Alfred Bauer prize for new perspectives with "Wer Wenn Nicht Wir" (If Not Us, Who), about the roots of violent left-wing German politics in the 1960s.
There was also a prize for the German director Ulrich Köhler, who won best director with his film "Schlafkrankheit" (Sleeping Sickness) about European aid workers in Africa.
Argentine director Paula Markovitch's movie "El Premio" (The Prize), about a life under military rule in Argentina won two Silver Bears for camerawork and production design.
Albanian scriptwriter Andamion Murataj and US director Joshua Marston picked up the Silver Bear for scriptwriting with "The Forgiveness of Blood," about a teenager in rural Albania whose family become involved in a bitter feud.
Author: Richard Connor (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Mark Rossman