From left to right: I didn't know what Michael Winterbottom looked like, so I've included him here. He's a boyish 48. I think his career is pretty fascinating because it covers so much global ground and differing genre terrain. He's so prolific while still making intelligent films. I'm impatient so prolific works for me. That said, his new noir The Killer Inside Me might be one I'll have to skip. If festival types are so horrified by the violence I'm sure it's more than I can take.
Julianne Moore looking foxy on her way to fifty. She's gone a bit goth here with smoky eyes, black dress and black fingernails. More on her in a bit.
Two-time Oscar nominee Isabelle Adjani, who hasn't been working much, came out for the premiere of the comedy Mammuth in which she costars with another 80s French superstar Gérard Depardieu. The title refers to his motorcycle.
Tall Rebecca Hall was on hand to promote Please Give (my review). Nobody told her that premieres require evening gowns.
Renée Zellweger, juror, wore big black puffy sleeves for awards night. But apparently she isn't willing to get puffy again herself for Bridget Jones 3. This might be totally unfounded gossip... but is it really true that Zeéeeee blames a failed relationship on the weight she gained for Bridget Jones Diary? That's... uh... disturbing. It took her like two days to lose the weight. We have photographic proof from awards shows. Say what you will about her -- and I've said plenty about 'she who must not be named' over the years -- she can often work a red carpet. That's an eye grabber.
Finally in that lineup above we have Danish actress Lene Maria Christensen who was there to support her new picture En Familie. I included her because I never wrote about Frygtelig Lykkelig, Denmark's failed Oscar submission -- soon to be remade by the same filmmaker for audiences who are too dumb to read subtitles -- and I thought she was pretty interesting within it. I don't know how to put this exactly without sounding hideously insensitive but her face seems like a comedic one and yet she was playing the dramatic / sexual femme fatale of the piece. And it worked. Strange little film but she was highly watchable and now I'm curious. The film is in theaters now so if you like quirkly film noir, you should see it.
No festival is compete without the honors and prizes. We'll kick off with German born 70s icon Hanna Schygulla who was honored for her whole career. She's pictured here with her recent The Edge of Heaven director Fatih Akin. Congrats Hanna! I keep meaning to educate myself on the Rainer Werner Fassbinder years but it's slow going. Why can't time stop for a a couple of years and allow me to catch up on a century of cinema? At least the highlights.
Golden Bear Bal (Honey) directed by Semih Kaplanoglu is about a boy searching for his missing beekeeper father. Will this be Turkey's Oscar submission next year?
Silver Bear Eu Cand Vreau Sa Fluier, Fluier (If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle), directed by Florin Serban. Romanian film is still roaring. This film also won the Alfred Bauer prize which is meant to reward innovative filmmaking.
Director Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer. In theaters now.
Screenplay Tuan Yuan (Apart Together) about reunited lovers separated by war was written by Wang Quan’an and Na Jin
Best First Feature Sebbe directed by Babak Najafi (Sweden)
Actress Shinobu Terajima in Caterpillar
Actor This prize was shared between the leads of the Russian film Kak Ya Provel Etim Letom (How I Ended This Summer) Grigori Dobrygin and Sergei Puskepalis, pictured right, who play co-workers at a polar station in the Arctic. They're the only two people in the picture. The film also won a prize for its cinematography.
Since this is an A list festival there are a lot of prizes from other juries, audiences as well. Other films that were honored in some way include:
Son Of Babylon directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji which won two prizes
Waste Land directed by Lucy Walker, Joao Jardim & Karen Harley
Budrus directed by Julia Bacha
Daniel Schmid - Le chat qui pense directed by Pascal Hofmann, Benny Jaberg
Kawasakiho ruze (Kawasaki’s Rose) directed by Jan Hrebejk
Aisheen [Still Alive in Gaza] directed by Nicolas Wadimoff
En Familie (A Family) directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen
Parade directed by Isao Yukisada
El vuelco del cangrejo (Crab Trap) directed by Oscar Ruiz Navia
and Die Fremde (When We Leave) directed by Feo Aladag
Berlinale also has a queer tradition, honoring gay and lesbian films in their "Teddy" section. This is where Julianne comes back in. Lisa Cholodenko's lesbian family dramedy The Kids Are All Right (my review) took the top prize.
Julianne Moore, 'the foxiest bitch in the world' (thx, Boogie Nights)
Other Teddy honors went to the documentary La bocca del lupo (The Mouth of the Wolf) directed by Pietro Marcello (read more about it), James Franco's directorial debut, a short film called The Feast Of Stephen (read more about it) and Open directed by Jake Yuzna which sounds rather outre and difficult to describe (you can read more about it but *NSFW*)
Congratulations to all the winners. One day we'll get to Berlin for the festival. If you've ever been, speak up in the comments.