As the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival drew to a close, the first of the three major international film festivals began handing out its awards. This year’s Berlin jury was chaired by Kristen Stewart, and the selections promised to reflect the actress’ famously good taste in movies. But a strong line-up featuring a wide range of innovative films from the world’s best directors ensured that their work was never going to be easy. From a timely documentary about the war in Ukraine to various dramas about men trapped in small spaces (see “Inside” and “Akút”), the eclectic collection of films has something for everyone.
At last year’s festival, Carla Simon’s Spanish drama “Alcarras” won the coveted Golden Bear. Several of the biggest names in global cinema walked away with big prizes, as Claire Denis received the Silver Bear for Best Director for “Both Sides of the Blade” and Hong Sang-soo the main jury Silver Bear for “The Novelist’s Film”. .”
This year’s jury awarded the French documentary “On the Adamant” with the Golden Bear. Nicolas Philibert’s film tells the story of a unique mental health institution that uses art as a primary method of care. Stewart praised the film for expanding the jury’s understanding of art. The Silver Bear for Best Director went to Philippe Garrel for “The Plow,” while the Silver Bear for Best Actor went to child star Sofia Otero for “20,000 Species of Bees.”
At this year’s festival, Steven Spielberg also traveled to Berlin to receive the honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement. He gave an impassioned acceptance speech in which he reflected on his unique relationship with the German public and made it clear that he had no plans to retire anytime soon.
“If this honor means that my work has found a home in Germany, then tonight I feel like I am at home,” Spielberg said (via Species). “This honor is of particular importance to me because I am a Jewish director. I’d like to believe that this is a small moment in a much larger, ongoing effort to heal the broken places of history—what Jews call Tikkun Olam, the repair and restoration of the world.
Read on for the full list of Berlin Film Festival 2023 winners.
Golden Bear – “On the Adamant” by Nicolas Philibert
Silver Bear is the main prize of the jury – “Afire”, Christian Petzold
Silver Bear Jury Award – “Bad Living” by João Canijo
Silver Bear for Best Director – “The Plow”, Philippe Garrel
Silver Bear for Best Actress – “20,000 Species of Bees,” Sofia Otero
Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance – “Till the End of the Night” by Thea Ehre
Silver Bear for Best Screenplay – “Music” by Angela Schanelec
Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution – Disco Boy”, Hélène Louvart, cinematographer
Winners of meetings:
Best Film – “Here” by Bas Devos
Best Director – “The Echo” by Tatiana Huezo
Special Jury Prize – “Orlando, My Political Biography” by Paul B. Preciado; “Samsara” by Lois Patino
Best Documentary – “The Echo” by Tatiana Huezo
Documentary Special – “Orlando, My Political Biography” by Paul B. Preciado
Best First Feature – “The Klezmer Project,” Leandro Koch, Paloma Schahmann
Berlinale Shorts winners:
Golden Bear – “Les Chenilles” by Michelle Keserwany, Noel Keserwany
Silver Bear – “Dipped Black” by Matthew Thorne, Derik Lynch
Special Mention – “It’s a Date” by Nadia Parfan
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