French documentary, Spanish girl clinch top prizes at Berlinale - GulfToday

French documentary, Spanish girl clinch top prizes at Berlinale


French director Nicolas Philibert poses with the “Golden Bear for Best Film" for the film "Sur l'Adamant" (On the Adamant) after the awards ceremony of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin on Saturday. AFP

The Berlin film festival on Saturday awarded its Golden Bear top prize to a documentary by French director Nicolas Philibert and its best acting award to an eight-year-old girl in what jury chief Kristen Stewart described as a "boundary-pushing" event.

"On the Adamant", coming more than 20 years after Philibert's acclaimed education documentary "To Be and To Have", is about a floating day-care centre for people with psychiatric problems on the Seine in Paris.


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Thanking the jury, Philibert, 72, said "that documentary can be considered to be cinema in its own right touches me deeply".

French director Nicolas Philibert (right) gestures after winning the "Golden Bear for Best Film" in Berlin. AFP

On a night full of surprises, the festival's gender-neutral acting prize was awarded to an eight-year-old, Spain's Sofia Otero.

The young actress won the prize for playing a transgender child in "20,000 Species of Bees", the feature debut from Spanish director Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren.

Critics have lavished praise on the film. Screen Daily, for one, predicted that "arthouse audiences worldwide should respond to the pathos, breadth and humanity of a film that takes a while to build but, when it does, never loses its grip".

Otero, who fought back tears when collecting the award, later told journalists she was "very grateful, very happy".

Agence France-Presse



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