Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson win at Berlinale, as 'Black Coal, Thin Ice' takes top prize
I've fallen a bit behind in my Berlinale coverage -- there are still several films I want to write about in this space -- but one film I won't be reviewing is the festival's Golden Bear winner, "Black Coal, Thin Ice." Yes, for the second year running, I managed to miss the jury's favorite. (Last year, it was "Child's Pose," and that worked out pretty well for me.) Anyway, I was braced for that possibility, since I spent less time than usual in the Competition, which was widely agreed to be a pretty lackluster selection this year.
"Black Coal, Thin Ice," a noirish Chinese thriller from director Diao Yinan, was one of the few film that seemed to raise most critics' pulses -- it also won Best Actor for Liao Fan as a detective investigating a trail of murders in a factory town that appears to lead to a single widow. Asian cinema was well served by James Schamus' jury, after being all but absent from last year's Competition: Best Actress went to Haru Kuroki for Yoji Yamada's latest, "The Little House," while Lou Ye's striking, rather abrasive melodrama "Blind Massage," took the Artistic Contribution Award for its cinematography.
Bigger-name directors, however, took the runner-up prizes. Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel," which opened the festival to almost universally glowing notices, was a popular winner of the Grand Jury Prize -- it's the director's first ever jury win at one of the major European festivals. Richard Linklater, meanwhile, took Best Director for hiis unique coming-of-age drama "Boyhood," which I raved about at its Sundance premiere. That's the very same award he won at Berlin 19 years ago for "Before Sunrise."
The Alfred Bauer Prize for "opening new perspectives" went to 91-year-old veteran Alain Resnais for his latest offbeat ensemble comedy "Life of Riley" -- read as much irony into that as you will, though Resnais is plainly an innovator for life. The Frenchman also took the FIPRESCI Award for the Competition section. (Nothing, meanwhile, for my favorite (barring "Boyhood") of the Competition films I did see, German-Brazilian director Karim Ainouz's dreamy, image-powered gay drama "Praia do Futuro.")
Full list of awards from multiple (and I mean multiple) juries on the next page.