Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s was awarded the Golden Bear for his latest movie Taxi at the 65th annual Berlin International Film Festival.
Jafar Panahi is banned from filmmaking in his home country and is not allowed to travel abroad.
Taxi was well-received by critics and buyers (Celluloid Dreams has international rights) during the festival.
In the film, Jafar Panahi set a camera on the dashboard of a yellow cab as it drives through Tehran. He plays the cabbie who interviews the diverse characters that make up his fares.
Jafar Panahi previously won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay with 2013’s Closed Curtain, which resulted in its co-director and co-star, Kambozia Partovi — who was present in Berlin that year to accept the prize — having his passport confiscated by the Iranian authorities.
Tonight, Jafar Panahi’s wife and niece were on hand with the little girl ascending the stage to accept the prize. She was too emotional to speak, she said, and was swiftly comforted by jury members including Matthew Weiner and Audrey Tautou.
Pablo Larrain’s dark, and darkly comic, El Club, a treatise on the Catholic church through the prism of a group of exiled priests, was the Grand Jury Prize winner.
Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling won acting honors for their roles in 45 Years. The pair plays a couple preparing for their 45th wedding anniversary who is rocked by a secret from the past.
Darren Aronofsky’s jury also doled out double prizes in two categories: Best Director and Outstanding Artistic Contribution. In the former, Romanian director Radu Jude and Poland’s Małgorzata Szumowska shared the prize for Aferim! and Body, respectively.
Presenting the Artistic Contribution Silver Bears, Darren Aronofsky said of the first winner, Victoria cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grovelen: “This film rocked my world.”
Of Under Electric Clouds Darren Aronofsky said: “The images will stay with everyone for a long time.”
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2015 Berlin Film Festival full list of winners:
Golden Bear for Best Film
Taxi, Jafar Panahi
Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
Pablo Larrain, El Club
Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives
Ixcanul, director: Jayro Bustamante
Silver Bear for Best Director (tie)
Radu Jude, Aferim!
Małgorzata Szumowska, Body
Silver Bear for Best Actress
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Silver Bear for Best Actor
Tom Courtenay, 45 Years
Silver Bear for Best Script
Patricio Guzman, The Pearl Button
Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution in the categories camera, editing, music score, costumes or set design (Tie)
Sturla Brandth Grovlen, Cinematographer: Victoria
Sergey Mikhalchuk and Evgeniy Privin, Cinematographers: Under Electric Clouds
Best First Feature Award for the Best Debut Film
600 Miles, director: Gabriel Ripstein
Audi Short Film Award
Planet Sigma, director: Momoko Seto
Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film)
Bad At dancing, director: Joanna Arnow
Golden Bear for Best Short Film
Hosanna, director: Na Young-kil
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Fifty Shades of Grey screen adaptation has premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival in Germany.
British novelist E.L. James attended the event with director Sam Taylor-Johnson and stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.
“It’s an extremely romantic movie and at the heart of it, it is a love story,” Taylor-Johnson told reporters.
“I think we’ve got that balance right.”
The movie has its UK premiere in London later, ahead of a worldwide release on February 13.
Accompanied by her husband, actor Aaron Johnson, Sam Taylor-Johnson – formerly Taylor-Wood – said she was “very nervous and excited” at the thought of screening the film to an international audience.
The visual artist turned film-maker said she was “proud of what we’ve achieved” and “proud of [her] cast”, which also includes singer Rita Ora and Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden.
E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy details the affair between a young student, Anastasia Steele, and a billionaire businessman, Christian Grey.
Fans waited all day on February 11 outside Berlin’s Zoo Palast theatre, some armed with flowers and copies of the books.
James Dornan said he was prepared for the additional attention playing Christian Grey would bring.
“I accepted that this role would change my life when I took the part,” said the Northern Irish actor.
“Although when you see the way fans are reacting, it hits you afresh.
“However, I’m still the same person I was before I was Christian Grey. I have a wife and a child and my circle of friends are the same. I’m not going anywhere.”
Speaking on the red carpet, the actor acknowledged “the book and the film aren’t to everyone’s taste”.
“But that’s fine,” he continued.
“I think we’ve done something classy.”
“It’s very important that everyone who might wish to judge remembers that Anastasia acts of her own free will in the movie,” said co-star Dakota Johnson.
“It’s a story where everything that happens between these two people is consensual.”
The 25-year-old said her parents, actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, had yet to see the movie but were “very proud” of her.
An estimated 4.5 million tickets have already been sold in the 39 countries where Fifty Shades of Grey will be released this weekend.
Sam Taylor-Johnson confirmed she is in talks to direct the next two films of the trilogy but said nothing had been decided “as yet”.
E.L. James said she was “excited” but “hated” being the centre of attention.
“To be honest, I’m looking forward to going home later and reading all about it with a gin and tonic,” she revealed.
The best-selling novelist, whose real name is Erika Mitchell, said she had had “input as a producer from the first to last frame”.
“What you see up there, I had a say in all of it,” she declared.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sam Taylor-Johnson admitted she and E.L. James had clashed during shooting and that making the film had been “an incredibly painful process”.
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Juliette Binoche’s Nobody Wants the Night will open the 65th Berlin Film Festival on February 5.
Nobody Wants the Night, starring Juliette Binoche as an Arctic explorer, is one of 19 films vying for the Golden Bear, the festival’s top prize.
Other films in contention include Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman as Gertrude Bell and Robert Pattinson as TE Lawrence.
Kenneth Branagh’s live action version of Cinderella – starring Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother – will screen out of competition, as will the long-awaited film adaptation of E.L. James’ best-seller 50 Shades of Grey.
Ian McKellen’s take on an ageing Sherlock Holmes will also play out of competition. Mr. Holmes, directed by Bill Condon, focuses on the enigmatic detective in retirement. Ian McKellen previously worked with Bill Condon on the 1998 film Gods and Monsters.
There will be a special gala screening of Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren as the late Maria Altmann, who successfully fought the Austrian government in her bid to reclaim the Gustav Klimt paintings stolen from her family by the Nazis.
Woman in Gold, directed by Simon Curtis, co-stars Ryan Reynolds, Katie Holmes and Daniel Bruhl.
Spanish director Isabel Coixet is only the second woman to open the festival and one of three female directors in competition at the Berlinale – Europe’s first major film event of the year.
This year’s competition selection is considered more populist than previous years. Two German film-makers who have found international success compete for the Golden Bear with their latest offerings.
Wim Wenders directs James Franco in Everything Will Be Fine, about a man who knocks down a child in his car and Oliver Hirschbiegel will be hoping to overcome the humiliation of his Princess Diana biopic with Elser – also known as 13 Minutes – about the man who tried to kill Hitler in 1939.
Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups stars Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale in a story of disillusionment in Hollywood, while Peter Greenaway’s Eisenstein in Guanajuato follows Russian film-maker Sergio Eisenstein “who travels to Mexico filled with the hubris of being an internationally celebrated star director”.
Andrew Haigh directs Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, about a long marriage challenged by an unexpected event.
From China comes Gone with the Bullets. Directed and starring Jiang Wen, the movie is the sequel to Chinese comedy hit Let the Bullets Fly. Dissident director Jafar Panahi will present Taxi, the Iranian third film since he was slapped with an official filmmaking ban in 2010.
This year’s Berlin Film Festival jury will be headed by director Darren Aronofsky.
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