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BERLIN 2019 Awards / Competition

Synonyms is synonymous with the Golden Bear

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- BERLIN 2019: Israel’s Nadav Lapid has scooped the top Bear with his Parisian tale of transformation, during a ceremony where Europe and Germany shone

Synonyms is synonymous with the Golden Bear
Nadav Lapid clutching his Golden Bear for Synonyms

The 69th edition of the Berlin Film Festival (7-17 February) culminated in a ceremony where European films shone, including through fruitful collaborations with talents from other regions, such as the Golden Bear winner, the unique and totally terrific Synonyms [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nadav Lapid
film profile
]
 by Nadav Lapid. At the end of his speech, the director pointed out that while the film could potentially generate some form of outrage both in his country of origin, Israel, and in France, where it is set, it is really meant as a celebration – of cinema, among other things. 

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The Grand Jury Prize went to another French-set title, By the Grace of God [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: François Ozon
film profile
]
by François Ozon. As he picked up the trophy, the director had a word of admiration for the fight led by the former victims of paedophilia who inspired his film.

The Silver Bear for Best Script went to a writer whose work has served as the basis of many great cinematic stories about the modern-day Neapolitan mafia: Roberto Saviano (author of Gomorrah [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Domenico Procacci
interview: Jean Labadie
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile
]
), for the script of Claudio Giovannesi's Piranhas [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Roberto Saviano
film profile
]
, which was based on one of his novels.

Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland, a regular in the Berlin competition, was rewarded through the work of his cinematographer, Rasmus Videbæk, on the magnificent and moving Out Stealing Horses [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hans Petter Moland
film profile
]
.

The gala was also a celebration of Germany, the (co-)producing country behind two of the winners in the short-film category, the winner of the Best First Feature Award (Oray [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay) and the movie that took home the Best Documentary Award (Talking About Trees [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Suhaib Gasmelbari). Germany was also represented by three Bear winners in the international competition for feature films, including the Best Film, the other two being the winner of the Best Director Award, Angela Schanelec, for I Was at Home, but [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Angela Schanelec
film profile
]
, and the Alfred Bauer Prize laureate, Nora Fingscheidt, for System Crasher [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nora Fingscheidt
film profile
]

Juliette Binoche, the president of the jury, brought up the absence of Zhang Yimou's One Second in competition, as the film was withdrawn at the last minute, but her strong regrets were matched by her jury's enthusiasm for the performances of the actors in So Long, My Son by his fellow countryman Wang Xiaoshuai, which pocketed Best Actress and Best Actor.

The ceremony was also notable for including a heartfelt salute to the outgoing director of the event, Dieter Kosslick, and the handing out of two more Bears, a furry one and a bespectacled one, to mark this special occasion.

Here is the full list of the award winners at the 69th edition of the Berlin Film Festival:

Golden Bear for Best Film
Synonyms [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nadav Lapid
film profile
]
 - Nadav Lapid (France/Israel/Germany)

Silver Bear – Grand Jury Prize
By the Grace of God [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: François Ozon
film profile
]
 - François Ozon (France/Belgium)

Silver Bear – Alfred Bauer Prize
System Crasher [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nora Fingscheidt
film profile
]
 - Nora Fingscheidt (Germany)

Silver Bear for Best Director
Angela Schanelec - I Was at Home, but [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Angela Schanelec
film profile
]
 (Germany/Serbia)

Silver Bear for Best Actress
Yong Mei - So Long, My Son (China)

Silver Bear for Best Actor
Wang Jingchun - So Long, My Son

Silver Bear for Best Script
Maurizio Braucci, Claudio Giovannesi, Roberto Saviano - Piranhas [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Roberto Saviano
film profile
]
 (Italy)

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution
Rasmus Videbæk, cinematographer - Out Stealing Horses [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hans Petter Moland
film profile
]
 (Norway/Sweden/Denmark)

Best Documentary Award
Talking About Trees [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Suhaib Gasmelbari (France/Sudan/Germany/Qatar/Chad)

Best First Feature Award
Oray [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay (Germany)

Berlinale Shorts

Golden Bear for Best Short Film
Umbra - Florian Fischer, Johannes Krell (Germany)

Silver Bear - Jury Prize for Short Film
Blue Boy - Manuel Abramovich (Argentina/Germany)

Audi Short Film Award
Rise - Bárbara Wagner, Benjamin de Burca (Brazil/USA/Canada)

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