BERLINALE 2020 Awards Mohammad Rasoulof's There Is No Evil triumphs at the Berlinale
by Vladan Petkovic, cineuropa 29/02/2020
BERLINALE 2020:Never Rarely Sometimes Always received the Grand Jury Prize, Hong Sangsoo was crowned Best Director, Paula Beer won Best Actress and Elio Germano bagged Best Actor
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof's There Is No Evil has triumphed at the 70th Berlinale, picking up the Golden Bear. The director himself was not present at the ceremony, nor at the festival.
Best Actor Elio Germano, Golden Bear winner There Is No Evil actress Baran Rasoulof and Best Actress Paula Beer with their awards on the stage of the Berlinale Palast
Banned from filmmaking in his country since 2017, Rasoulof made the Golden Bear-winning film while appealing this decision. He was subsequently sentenced to one year in prison, which was confirmed three weeks ago (read more here).
There Is No Evil has, following its Berlinale premiere, been perceived as his most direct critique of Iran's government to date – and especially its death-penalty policies. “Four stories showing the web of an authoritarian regime as it weaves among ordinary people, drawing them towards inhumanity, a film that asks questions about our own responsibility and choices we all make in life. The Golden Bear goes to There Is No Evil by Mohammad Rasoulof,” proclaimed Jeremy Irons, who was presiding over the Berlinale jury this year.
Jeremy Irons together with Baran Rasoulof
The award was received by the director's daughter, actress Baran Rasoulof, who plays one of the roles in the film, and producers Farzan Pak and Kaveh Farnam. “I had a unique and magnificent experience after the screening of the film in the big, beautiful theatre [of the Berlinale Palast], when people put their hands together for Mr Rasoulof,” said Farnam. “It was a very special kind of feeling, and I looked at his seat. His seat was empty. Then I looked at other seats, and I found that he was in all of the seats. There were very strong faces, with a big ‘no’ to censorship. Mohammad was with us yesterday, and Mohammad is with us right now. And I thought about how this is all happening in Berlin. I think this story reminds us of something: there is no wall in the world that can stop our ideas, our belief – our love is spreading everywhere.”
Farnam then addressed the Golden Bear statuette he was holding in his hands, calling it his new friend who would be travelling to his beautiful country very soon: “Hug Mohammad, hug my master, my teacher, my friend. Mohammad will show you Iran. And you will find what kind, peaceful and lovely people we are. My people are only giving a message of peace and love to all humankind. We love everyone. We are lovely people, you will see it. Thank you!”
Prior to the awarding of the Golden Bear, the jury announced that the unofficial second-place prize, the Silver Bear Grand Jury Award, went to Never Rarely Sometimes Always by US filmmaker Eliza Hittman.
The Silver Bear - 70th Berlinale Special Award, newly established to replace the traditional Alfred Bauer Award, which has been pulled due to the recent discovery of the Berlinale founder's Nazi-related past, went to Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern's Delete History.
Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo picked up the Silver Bear for Best Director for The Woman Who Ran, while Best Actress went to Paula Beer for her role in Undine by Christian Petzold, and Elio Germano bagged the Best Actor gong for Hidden Away by Giorgio Diritti.
Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo received the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay for Bad Tales, while the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution went to DoP Jürgen Jürges for the lighting and cinematography on Ilya Khrzhanovskiy and Jekaterina Oertel's DAU. Natasha.
In the newly established Encounters section, The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin) by CW Winter and Anders Edström won Best Film, while Cristi Puiu picked up Best Director for Malmkrog. Sandra Wollner pocketed the Special Jury Award for The Trouble With Being Born, and a Special Mention went to Matías Piñeiro's Isabella.
The Best Documentary Award, which is given to one of the 21 non-fiction titles shown across the key sections of the Berlinale, was bestowed upon Rithy Panh for Irradiated, which screened in competition, while a Special Mention went to Notes from the Underworld by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, which played in Panorama.
Similarly, the GWFF Best First Feature Award was given to a film from a pool of 21 titles playing across various sections, and both the winner, Los conductos by Camilo Restrepo, and the recipient of a Special Mention, Melanie Waelde's Naked Animals, screened in the newly established Encounters, confirming that the introduction of the strand was a good decision by the new Berlinale management team.
Here is the full list of award winners:
Golden Bear for Best Film There Is No Evil - Mohammad Rasoulof (Germany/Czech Republic/Iran)
Silver Bear – Grand Jury Prize Never Rarely Sometimes Always - Eliza Hittman (USA)
Silver Bear for Best Director Hong Sangsoo - The Woman Who Ran (South Korea)
Silver Bear for Best Actress Paula Beer - Undine (Germany/France)
Silver Bear for Best Actor Elio Germano - Hidden Away (Italy)
Silver Bear for Best Screenplay Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo - Bad Tales (Italy/Switzerland)
Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution Jürgen Jürges, cinematographer - DAU. Natasha (Germany/Ukraine/UK/Russia)
Silver Bear – 70th Berlinale Special Prize Delete History - Benoît Delépine, Gustave Kervern (France/Belgium)
Best Film The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin) - CW Winter, Anders Edström (USA/Sweden/Japan/Hong Kong/UK)
Special Jury Award The Trouble With Being Born - Sandra Wollner (Austria/Germany)
Best Director Malmkrog - Cristi Puiu (Romania/Serbia/Switzerland/Sweden/Bosnia and Herzegovina/North Macedonia)
Special Mention Isabella - Matías Piñeiro (Argentina/France)
Best Documentary Award Irradiated - Rithy Panh (France/Cambodia)
Special Mention Notes from the Underworld - Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel (Austria)
GWFF Best First Feature Award Los conductos - Camilo Restrepo (France/Colombia/Brazil)
Special Mention Naked Animals - Melanie Waelde (Germany)
Golden Bear for Best Short Film T – Keisha Rae Witherspoon (USA)
Silver Bear - Jury Prize for Short Film Filipiñana – Rafael Manuel (Philippines/UK)
Audi Short Film Award Genius Loci - Adrien Mérigeau (France)