The Berlinale bear hunt ended in success for a German film. The German filmmaker Christian Petzold was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Director at the impressive closing gala of the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival on Saturday (February 18). Petzold convinced the international jury with his highly praised drama “Barbara” starring the renowned German actress Nina Hoss in the leading role. A Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement also went to the German cinematographer Lutz Reitemeier. Over the past ten years he has successfully worked on Chinese films and received his Silver Bear for the splendid wide-screen images in “White Deer Plain”.
“Barbara“, the film by the 51-year-old Berlin director Christian Petzold, plays in the 1980s in the former GDR. It tells the story of a doctor who is relegated to a small, insignificant hospital in the provinces, because she has expressed the wish to leave the country and her position in East Berlin. Petzold allowed his own memories to flow into his directorial work: his parents came from the GDR, and the family spent their summer holidays there. As far as the film award is concerned, it’s third time lucky for Petzold: the director had already entered “Gespenster” (Ghosts) and “Yella” in earlier Berlinale competitions. So this was all the more reason to be happy about the Silver Bear: “I’m overjoyed,” said Petzold after receiving the award, with which he had not reckoned.
Meanwhile, “Barbara”, which will be launched in German cinemas on March 8, 2012, has been sold in more than a dozen countries and widely praised by critics. For instance, when summing up the Berlinale, the German daily paper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” wrote that Petzold’s film convinced with its flawless execution, and that it was a masterpiece of craftsmanship and intellectual prowess. Petzold was only topped by two elderly gentlemen from Italy: the 2012 Berlinale Golden Bear for Best Film went to the brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (80 and 82 years old) for their prison docudrama “Caesar Must Die”.
Photo © Alexander Janetzko – Berlinale 2012