Berlin Film Festival Winners Announced

22nd February 2005

A South African adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen has won the top prize of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.


A South African adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen has won the top prize of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Entitled U-Carmen Ekhayelitsha, the award was accepted by Pauline Malefane, who plays the title role, and Mark Dornford-May, the British-born director of the film. The film, based around the tale of a factory worker who stabs and kills a colleague in a fight and who falls in love with a police officer, is sung entirely in the Xhosa language.

Sophie Scholl: The Last Days, was also a major winner, scooping the Best Director and Best Actress awards for Marc Rothemund and Julia Jentsch respectively. The film deals with German Resistance against Adolf Hitler.

Gu Changwei, a Chinese cinematographer who worked on Farewell, My Concubine and a couple of Zhang Yimou films, won the Jury Prize for his directorial debut Peacock, a family drama set in 1970s China. The Best Actor award was won by 19 year-old Lou Taylor Pucci for Thumbsucker, about a teenager who cannot stop sucking his thumb, which also stars Tilda Swinton.

One of the festival’s most controversial films, Paradise Now, won the Best Film Award. Many protestors claimed the film glorified terrorists in its portrayal of two Palestinian suicide bombers who carry out an attack in Israel.

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