Two jury members cancelled shortly before the festival: Susanne Bier, director from Denmark and Sandrine Bonnaire, actress from France. That left jury chair, Constantin Costa-Gavras, with just six jurors: Uli Hanisch, Diane Kruger, Shu Qi, Walter Murch, and Alexander Rodnyansky. All together these seven represented France, Germany, Taiwan, Russia, and the USA and are actors, editor, producer, director and production designer. Under the motto, “a smaller group will find an easier consensus,” Berlinale head, Dieter Kosslick, made no move to name substitutes, but let it rest with seven jury members.
I followed my instincts and refused to watch any films which smelled of violence, brutality or suffering of children. As a result I missed out on many highly rated films, including the winner, Tropa de elite which is about a policeman who cleans out the drug dealers in his favela and the runner up, Standard Operating Procedure, which was the first documentary to compete at the Berlinale. Perhaps the Berlinale prizes will guarantee a distribution in Germany.
The winners are:
Best film (Golden Bear) Tropa de elite by José Padilha
Runner up (Silver Bear) Standard Operating Procedure by Errol Morris
Best director, Paul Thomas Anderson for There will be Blood
Best actress, Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky by Mike Liegh
Best actor, Reza Najie in Avaze Gonheskh-ha by Majid Majidi
Best music, Jonny Greenwood for There will be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson
Best script, Wang Xiaoshuai for Zuo You
Film which opens a new perspective (aka Alfred Bauer prize), Lake Tahoe by Fernando Eimbcke
Besides this main and official jury, there were many other juries, for example, a jury of three which awarded the best first film award to Asyl-Park and Love Hotel by Kumasaka Izuru. Other juries awarded prizes to short films, children’s and teenagers’ films. There were over a dozen independent juries, such as the federation of film critics (FIPRESCI) which honoured Lake Tahoe by Fernando Eimbcke or the Ecumenical jury (Protestant and Catholic churches) which gave first place to Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (I’ve loved you so long) by Philippe Claudel. The Teddy Award (gender specific) went to The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson. Newspaper readers and film audiences also voted, e.g., the Berliner Morgenpost readers also gave first prize to Philippe Claudel’s French film.