ByRory O'Connor, writer at
Breathing movies. Humbly writing about them.
Rory O'Connor

The storm dies down on Potsdamer Platz tonight as the 65th Berlinale draws to a close. On first glance, the lineup seemed to lack the razzle dazzle of last year’s competition- which included current Oscar hopefuls Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel- and yet Dieter Koslick and his team have managed to reach a greater standard this year with their selection overall.

Over the last week and a half we’ve met a young indigenous woman from Guatemala; taken a one shot roller-coaster through the streets of Berlin; seen a marriage deteriorate after 45 years; and took a spin around Tehran in a subversive Taxicab. And then there was the little issue of Terry Malick and his Knight of Cups…

Darren Aronofsky and his Jury choose to spread the love as much as possible with the awards tonight. The Cinematography and Art direction award was split between the single shot wonder Victoria and Alexei German Jr.’s existential meanderings. The best director bear was also split between the Romanian Don Quixote Aferim! and the Polish dark comedy Body. It felt as if a lot of ground was being covered by the jury but then, somewhat surprisingly, both Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtney were awarded for their remarkable performances in Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years. Guzman, Larrain and Bustamante all left Latin American cinema smiling, but the big prize, thankfully, found its way to Iran.

The first real major prize which has been awarded to Jafar Panahi since being placed under house arrest could truly not be more deserved. Even if you were to take those strict restrictions out of the equation, you would still be left with a film of incredible complexity, warmth and humour. Taxi might be one of the quietest cinematic battle cries you’re likely to hear this year. It really is wonderfully rousing stuff.

Here’s the full list of winners and- far more importantly- my own (not so surprising) top five.

Award Winners

Gold Bear:

Taxi (Jafar Panahi)

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize:

El Club (Pablo Larrain)

Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize:

Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante)

Silver Bear Best Director:

Aferim! (Rafu Jude) & Body (Malgorzata Szumowska)

Silver Bear For Best Actress & Actor

Charlotte Rampling & Tom Courtney (45 Years)

Best Script:

The Pearl Button (Patricio Guzman)

Top Five


Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante)


A Minor Leap Down (Hamed Rajabi)


The Diary Of A Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller)


45 Years (Andrew Haigh)


Taxi (Jafar Panahi)

And so the first major European plaudits of 2015 are dished out. Congrats to Mr. Panahi for his incredible film and thanks to everyone out there for tuning in. x


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