Category Archives: Berlin International Film Festival

South Korea’s Kim Min-hee Wins Best Actress at Berlin

BERLIN — Kim Min-hee has won the Silver Bear best actress award at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival for the South Korean film “On the Beach at Night Alone.”

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South Korean actress Kim Min-hee accepts her Silver Bear award for best actress.
PHOTO: © Ali Ghandtschi / Berlinale 2017

The film, directed by Hong Sang-soo, follows a young actress who retreats to a wintery Germany after the messy end of an affair with a married film director. Returning later to South Korea, the actress tries to sort out her life at a seaside town with the help of her friends. Mr. Hong stays true to his cinematic style: a measured drama with long takes about adult characters discussing and dissecting their complicated relationships, and laced with wry — sometimes uncomfortable — humor and observations.

“On the Beach at Night Alone” received strong reviews, with critics singling out Ms. Kim’s performance. The Hollywood Reporter said Ms. Kim gives her character “a modern aplomb and a desire to live her own way that makes her easy to identify with.” Variety wrote that Ms. Kim takes a “marvelous lead turn,” putting in “a subtle, intuitive performance.”

Ms. Kim previously appeared in Mr. Song’s well-received “Right Now, Wrong Then” (2015), and she starred in last year’s critically acclaimed thriller “The Handmaiden.”

The Berlin awards ceremony was held on Feb. 18. Here is the full list of winners for the Prizes of the International Jury:

Golden Bear for Best Film:

  • “Testről és lélekről” (“On Body and Soul”)
  • Hungary
  • Director: Ildikó Enyedi

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize:

  • “Félicité”
  • France/Senegal/Belgium/Germany/Lebanon
  • Director: Alain Gomis

Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize:

  • “Pokot” (“Spoor”)
  • Poland/Germany/Czech Republic/Sweden/Slovak Republic
  • Director: Agnieszka Holland, in cooperation with Kasia Adamik

Silver Bear for Best Director:

  • Aki Kaurismäki, for “Toivon tuolla puolen” (“The Other Side of Hope”)
  • Finland/Germany

Silver Bear for Best Actress:

  • Kim Min-hee, in “On the Beach at Night Alone”
  • South Korea
  • Director: Hong Sang-soo

Silver Bear for Best Actor:

  • Georg Friedrich, in “Helle Nächte” (“Bright Nights”)
  • Germany/Norway
  • Director: Thomas Arslan

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay:

  • Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza, for “Una mujer fantástica” (“A Fantastic Woman”)
  • Chile/United States/Germany/Spain
  • Director: Sebastián Lelio

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution:

  • Dana Bunescu, for the editing in “Ana, mon amour”
  • Romania/Germany/France
  • Director: Călin Peter Netzer

Asian in Focus as Berlin International Film Festival Opens

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The 67th Berlin International Film Festival jury, from left:
Wang Quan’an (China), Olafur Eliasson (Iceland), Maggie Gyllenhaal (U.S.),
Paul Verhoeven (Netherlands), Julia Jentsch (Germany), Diego Luna (Mexico),
Dora Bouchoucha Fourati (Tunisia); and moderator Anatol Weber.
PHOTO: Dean Napolitano

BERLIN — The 67th Berlin International Film Festival opened on Thursday with the premiere of the French film “Django,” set in 1943 during the German occupation of France, from director-writer Etienne Comar.

Four films from Asia will appear in the festival’s main Competition section: The animated film “Have a Nice Day” from director Liu Jian of China; “Mr. Long” from the singularly named director Sabu of Japan; “On the Beach at Night Alone” from director Hong Sang-soo of South Korea; and the Indian film “Viceroy’s House,” which will screen out of competition, from director Gurinder Chadha.

Several Asian films will screen in the Panorama section, including three from Chinese directors: “Ciao Ciao” by Song Chuan; “Ghost in the Mountains” by Yang Heng; and “The Taste of Betel Nut” by Hu Jia. Also in the Panorama section is “Close-Knit” from director Naoko Ogigami of Japan.

Asian films in the Forum section include two from Japanese directors: “Three Lights” by Kohki Yoshida and “The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue” by Yuya Ishii. Also in the Forum section: “Autumn, Autumn” from Jang Woo-jin of South Korea and the Indian film “Newton” from Amit V. Masurkar.

This year’s international jury lineup: Dutch director and screenwriter Paul Verhoeven, jury president; Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha Fourati; Danish-born Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson; American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal; German actress Julia Jentsch; Mexican actor Diego Luna; and Chinese director-screenwriter Wang Quan’an.

At the jury press conference, Mr. Wang noted his long association with the Berlin festival. After reaping multiple screenings and awards in Berlin over the past 15 years, Mr. Wang said he was looking forward to handing out awards this year. His film “Lunar Eclipse” (1999) was shown in 2002; “Tuya’s Marriage” won the Golden Bear award in 2007; “Apart Together” opened the festival in 2010 and won the Silver Bear award for best script (with co-screenwriter Jin Na); and White Deer Plain won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution in 2012 for Lutz Reitemeier, Mr. Wang’s director of photography on the film.

Mr. Wang said that while this is a good time for Chinese films because of financing, money also has had a “somewhat of a destructive effect” when it comes to art-house films in China. But he said that was part of the process and that he expected that eventually there would be “more space” for art-house cinema in the country.

The festival runs until Feb. 19.

Hong Kong Producer Nansun Shi to Be Honored by Berlin Festival

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Nansun Shi, center, with the other members of the international jury for the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007, from left: Molly Malene Stensgaard, Willem Dafoe, Paul Schrader, Ms. Shi, Mario Adorf, Hiam Abbass and Gael García Bernal.
PHOTO: Ali Ghandtschi © Berlinale

BERLIN — Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi will be awarded the Berlinale Camera at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival this week.

Ms. Shi is one of Asia’s most prominent and successful film producers and film distributors, with a career spanning more than three decades. Her many credits include director John Woo’s “A Better Tomorrow” (1986) starring Chow Yun-fat; director Tsui Hark’s “Once Upon a Time in China” (1991) starring Jet Li; and “Infernal Affairs” (2002) from directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, which Martin Scorsese adapted into his Oscar-winning 2006 film “The Departed.”

Ms. Shi has served on the juries of multiple international film festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007 (photo above) and the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. “If you’re lucky enough to find something you actually like and enjoy, then you’re very lucky,” Ms. Shi told me in an interview in 2011 prior to Cannes.

This year, Ms. Shi is one of three recipients of the Berlinale Camera, along with Australian actor Geoffrey Rush, and film critic and author Samir Farid of Egypt.

The Berlinale Camera, according to the festival, is given to “film personalities or institutions to which it feels particularly indebted and wishes to express its thanks.”