Turkey's "Bal", Polanski wins top prizes at Berlin film festival

08:33, February 21, 2010      

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"Bal "(Honey) from Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu on Saturday won the Golden Bear, the highest prize awarded for the best film at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale. Roman Polanski won the Best Director Silver Bear for "The Ghost Writer."

"Bal ", one of 20 movies competing for the 60th anniversary Berlinale's top honours, tells the story of a boy searching for his lost father. Trying to make sense of his life, he lives in the wildest, most remote area of the eastern Black Sea region, where modern life has not yet penetrated. In reaction to the award Kaplanoglu told German television channel "3sat" that it is the first time a Turkish film took the top prize at the Berlin film festival since 1964, whose meaning he has not fully grasped.

Besides the Golden Bear, Silver Bears were given in the name of the jury grand prix, best director, best actor, best actress and outstanding artistic contribution.

Romanian film director Florin Serban's "If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle" won the Silver Bear for Jury Grand Prix. The movie also took the Alfred Bauer award, named after the Berlinale's founder.

As a nod to the controversial Polish-French director Roman Polanski, who is on house arrest in Switzerland pending extradition to the United States for a 1977 "unlawful sex" charge, the Berlinale Jury awarded him the Best Director Silver Bear for his political thriller "The Ghost Writer".

The fresh release tells the story of a writer who is hired to pen the personal memoirs of a former British Prime minister, starring Pierce Brosnan, and find something unbelievable.

In a message sent through one of his producers, Polanski said: "Even if I could come, I wouldn't. Because the last time I went to a festival to accept an award, I ended up in jail."

Grigory Dobrygin and Sergei Puskepalis shared Best Actor Silver Bears for their roles in "Kak Ya Provel Etim Letom" (How I Ended This Summer) from Russian director Alexei Popogrebsky. The film's camera man, Pavel Kostomarov, was awarded Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement for his breathtaking Arctic images.

Japan's Shinobu Terajima got Silver Bear for Best Actress for Koji Wakamatsu's anti-war movie "Caterpillar".

The Silver Bear for Best Screenplay went to "Tuan Yuan" (Apart Together) by Chinese director Wang Quan'an, who won the Golden Bear in 2007 for "Tuya's Marriage.

His latest family drama, which opened the festival on February 11, is about a soldier who flees Shanghai in 1949 for Taiwan. After many decades he returns to his old life to find his former love has long since married.

It is one of two Chinese language films in the main competition. The other is the newest film "San qiang pai an jing qi" ("A Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop") by Zhang Yimou, whose classic "Red Sorghum"won the first Golden Bear for China in 1988.

Altogether ten Chinese language films were screened at the festival.

Swedish director Babak Najafi's "Sebbe", which was screened at the Berlinale's Generation section, was honored with the festival' s Best First Feature award.

The Berlinale, which opened in 1951 with a screening of Hitchcock's "Rebecca", has since become one of the three most important festivals in Europe, alongside Venice and Cannes.

Source: Xinhua
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