Mother-Daughter Bosnian War Drama & Guantanamo Documentary: Berlin Film Festival Winners

There weren't many surprises at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival awards. One of this year's favorites, Jasmila Zbanic's Grbavica, the story of a 12-year-old girl (Luna Mijovic, above, hugging Mirjana Karanovic) who discovers that she is the end result of a Bosnian war crime – namely, rape – was awarded the Golden Bear for best film.

Also on the political side, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross took home the Silver Bear for best director for The Road to Guantanamo, which follows three British Muslims held at the notorious U.S. prison (located on the island of Cuba) where suspected terrorists – without having been formally charged and without access to legal representation – have been systematically tortured and abused.

The acting awards went to (equally serious) German performers: Sandra Hüller for Requiem, the tale of an epileptic Catholic woman who believes she is possessed, and Moritz Bleibtreu for his sex-obsessed high-school teacher in The Elementary Particles.

Pernille Fischer Christensen's A Soap, a dramatic comedy about the relationship between the owner of a beauty clinic and a transsexual, won the best first feature award and shared the Special Jury Prize with Jafar Panahi's comedy-drama Offside, about the plight of women who happen to be sports fans in Iran, a country where they're not allowed inside stadiums.

2006 Berlin Film Festival Awards

Photos: © Berlinale 2006


Golden Bear : GRBAVICA, by Jasmila Zbanic

Silver Bear - The Jury Grand Prix 2006 (ex-aequo): EN SOAP / A SOAP, by Pernille Fischer Christensen, and OFFSIDE, by Jafar Panahi

Silver Bear - Best Director : Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO

Silver Bear - Best Actor : Moritz Bleibtreu in ELEMENTARTEILCHEN / THE ELEMENTARY PARTICLES, by Oskar Roehler

Silver Bear - Best Actress : Sandra Hüller in REQUIEM, by Hans-Christian Schmid

Silver Bear - Artistic Contribution : Jürgen Vogel as actor, co-writer and co-producer of the film DER FREIE WILLE / THE FREE WILL, by Matthias Glasner

Silver Bear - Best Film Music : Peter Kam for ISABELLA, by Pang Ho-Cheung

Alfred Bauer Prize 2006 (to a work which “takes the art of film in a new direction”): EL CUSTODIO, by Rodrigo Moreno


Members of the international Jury for the Best First Feature Award : Valentina Cervi, Goran Paskaljevic, and Hans Weingartner

Pernille Fischer Christensen; producer: Lars Bredo Rahbek

Best First Feature Award : EN SOAP / A SOAP, director: Pernille Fischer Christensen; producer: Lars Bredo Rahbek


Members of the International Short Film Jury: Oh Jung-Wan, Mariela Besuievsky, and Florian Gallenberger

The Golden Bear for Best Short Film: ALDRIG SOM FÖRSTA GÅNGEN! (Nie wie beim ersten Mal!), by Jonas Odell

The Jury Prize - Silver Bear to the Short Film (ex aequo): GRATTE-PAPIER / PENPUSHER, by Guillaume Martinez, and OUR MAN IN NIRVANA, by Jan Koester

Special Mention: EL DIA QUE MORI / THE DAY I DIED, by Maryam Keshavarz

Panorama Short Film Award: TES CHEVEUX NOIRS IHSAN (Dein dunkles Haar Ihsan), by Tala Hadid

Prix UIP Berlin: EL CERCO / THE FENCE, by Ricardo Íscar and Nacho Martín

DAAD Short Film Prize: BARBUROT / SWANETTES, by Rony Sasson


Honorary Golden Bear: Polish director and screenwriter Andrzej Wajda and British actor Sir Ian McKellen



Film from the Competition: GRBAVICA, by Jasmila Zbanic

Film from the Panorama: KOMORNIK / THE COLLECTOR, by Feliks Falk

Film from the Forum: CONVERSATIONS ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON, by Khalo Matabane



Film from the Competition: REQUIEM, by Hans-Christian Schmid

Film from the Panorama: KNALLHART / TOUGH ENOUGH, by Detlev Buck

Film from the Forum: IN BETWEEN DAYS, by So Yong Kim


International Competition Jury:

Charlotte Rampling (actress, UK), Jury president
Matthew Barney (multi-media artist, USA)
Yash Chopra (producer, India)
Marleen Gorris (director, Netherlands)
Janusz Kaminski (cinematographer, Poland)
Lee Young-ae (actress, Republic of Korea)
Armin Mueller-Stahl (actor, Germany)
Fred Roos (producer, USA)

Dresden by Roland Suso Richter“German filmmakers have tackled the touchy subject of whether the Allied firebombing of Dresden at the end of World War Two was a 'war crime' with a carefully balanced melodrama that got its worldwide premiere on Monday.

“Showing the German point of view of anything in World War Two is always likely to cause a stir – and that's precisely what the makers of Dresden said they want to achieve.

Dresden, which premiered at the European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival, quickly reopened old wounds about what many Germans privately call a war crime – and even act of terror.” Erik Kirschbaum via Reuters.


Directed by Roland Suso Richter, the made-for-TV miniseries Dresden stars Marie Bäumer, Susanne Bormann, Michael Brandner, Andreas Günther, Jürgen Heinrich, Heiner Lauterbach, and John Light. Thirty-five thousand people died as a result of the fire-bombing of the German city.

When I was in Dresden in the early 1990s, I visited the ruins of a church, left standing as a symbol of the horrors of war. The skeleton of that building remains one of the most haunting images I carry in my memory. “Good” war or “bad” war, the incinerated bodies and cities in ruins are ultimately all the same.

Cinema for Peace

At Berlin's Cinema for Peace charity event attended by Richard Gere, Catherine Deneuve, Christopher Lee, and Bob Geldorf this past Monday, a one-minute segment from a short video by Sergiu Matei was shown. Matei's film depicts a Sept. 30, 2006, incident in which Chinese border police opened fire on Tibetan refugees attempting to flee the country.

Gere, a relentless Tibet advocate, stated that as this year's head of the (do-nothing) G8, Germany has the “responsibility to encourage China to become part of the modern world [where] these kinds of actions and policies can not be tolerated.” (Considering the atrocities perpetrated in and/or by the “modern world,” I'm assuming that Gere must have been joking.)

Cinema for Peace award winners for 2006 were best director Bille August for Goodbye Bafana, best actor Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland, and the “most valuable movies of the year,” Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima.

On a lighter note, Cate Blanchett is in Berlin promoting both her out-of-competition melodrama Notes on a Scandal and her in-competition melodrama The Good German. In some of the pictures, Blanchett is accompanied by Notes on a Scandal co-stars Judi Dench and Andrew Simpson.

Richard Gere quote: The Hollywood Reporter

Opening film: Snow Cake, director Marc Evans, with Alan Rickman, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sigourney Weaver, Emily Hampshire

Candy, Neil Armfield, with Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish

El Custodio / The Minder, Rodrigo Moreno

Elementarteilchen / The Elementary Particles, Oskar Roehler, with Moritz Bleibtreu

Find Me Guilty, Sidney Lumet, with Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Alex Rocco, Linus Roache, Annabella Sciorra, Aleksa Palladino

Der Freie Wille / The Free Will, Matthias Glasner, with Jürgen Vogel

Mirjana Karanovic, Leon Lucev in Grbavica

Grbavica, Jasmila Zbanic, with Mirjana Karanovic, Leon Lucev

Invisible Waves, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, with Asano Tadanobu, Gang Hye Jung, Eric Tsang, Maria Cordero

Isabella, Pang Ho-cheung, with Isabella Leong, J. J. Jia, Derek Tsang, Meme Tian

L'Ivresse du pouvoir / Comedy of Power, Claude Chabrol, with Isabelle Huppert, Pierre Vernier, François Berléand, Patrick Bruel, Thomas Chabrol

Offside, Jafar Panahi

A Prairie Home Companion, Robert Altman, with Garrison Keillor, Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Woody Harrelson, Lily Tomlin, John C. Reilly, Virginia Madsen

Requiem, Hans-Christian Schmid

The Road to Guantanamo, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross

Romanzo Criminale / Crime Novel, Michele Placido, with Kim Rossi Stuart

Sehnsucht / Desire, Valeska Grisebach

Slumming, Michael Glawogger, with Maria Bill, Paulus Manker and Brigitte Kren

En Soap / A Soap, Pernille Fischer Christensen

Zemestan, Rafi Pitts

Capote, Bennett Miller, with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener

The New World, Terrence Malick, with Christian Bale, Colin Farrell

The Science of Sleep, Michel Gondry, with Alain Chabat, Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg


Syriana, Stephen Gaghan, with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Christopher Plummer, Amanda Peet, Jeffrey Wright, Robert Foxworth, Chris Cooper, Max Minghella, Mark Strong, William Hurt

V for Vendetta, James McTeigue, with John Hurt, Natalie Portman

Wu ji / The Promise, Chen Kaige, with Cecilia Cheung, Nicholas Tse

Closing film: Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, Sam Peckinpah (digitally restored print), with James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Riachard Jaeckel, Katy Jurado, Barry Sullivan, Chill Wills, Bob Dylan, R.G. Armstrong, Luke Askew, John Beck

Teddy Award retrospective

“To show a film from Iran about a transsexual, as we did three years ago, was a sensation. We had to take enormous precautionary measures, because this continues to be a highly political issue.

“But its by no means just the Islamic countries. In our neighbouring Poland a man was recently elected president [Lech Kaczynski of the far right Law and Justice party] who has been spreading so much hatred towards gays and lesbians, that a lot of people have been hurt, also physically. At the moment in Poland, gays and lesbians are being attacked by neo-Nazis and the police are doing nothing about it. This shows that we are nowhere even close to where we think we are, when we see a mixed crowd enjoying itself in the bars and on the dance floors here. The basic political situation hasnt changed. The patriarchy is still the ruling power on this planet and in each and every country; and the patriarchy feels extremely threatened by men who dont go along with it.”

Wieland Speck, director of the Panorama sidebar at the Berlin Film Festival, discussing obstacles faced by gays in the early 21st century while reminiscing about the first 20 years of the Teddy Awards - given to the festivals best film with a gay/lesbian theme. For the 20-year anniversary, previous Teddy Award winners will be screened at the Panorama sidebar.

Mother-Daughter Bosnian War Drama & Guantanamo Documentary: Berlin Film Festival Winners © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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1 Comment to Mother-Daughter Bosnian War Drama & Guantanamo Documentary: Berlin Film Festival Winners


    I am french.My motherly family suffered very much from german abuse during the nazismus occupation in France in the time of WWII, and yet,on the other side my fatherly family was from Dresden (some people of my family have been always living in Dresden…)There are sometimes necessary wars against barbary, but they are never clean or human.In France also many people add with german abuse had to endure terrible bombing by allies struggling against Hitler 's Forces! Yes Germany suffered very much of bombing but please never forget that Hitler and Germans were first responsible of this terrible war and consequences! I know what I am speaking about.
    Nethertheless I would like very much to see this film because Dresden is a part of my heart.