Peruvian director Claudia Llosa's Milk
of Sorrow, the magic-realism-tinged story of women suffering the
effects of the long battle between Peru's government and Shining Path
terrorists, won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival
Argentinian director Adrian Biniez's debut Gigante (about a
supermarket security guard obsessed with a late-night cleaner) shared the
runner-up Silver Bear prize with German director Maren Ade's Everyone Else.
The latter film's star, Birgit Minichmayr, won best actress honors, while
Sotigui Kouyate took best actor for the British film London River
(about the aftermath of the London terror bombings).
American films were not completely shut out of the competition. Oren Moverman
and Alessandro Camon won the best script award for The Messenger, a
film about two U.S. soldiers (Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson) assigned to inform
a young widow (Samantha Morton) that her husband has died in Iraq. In addition,
the festival's Audience Award went to Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno's
gonzo-style documentary The Yes Men Fix the World in which the
prankster filmmakers pose as reps for multinational corporations to make
increasingly outrageous proposals.
Llosa, right, and actress Magaly Solier with the Golden Bear for "Everyone
Else" (Getty Images photo)
BERLIN -- "The Milk of Sorrow" from Peruvian director Claudia Llosa
has won the Golden Bear for best film at the 59th Berlin International Film
In the politically tinged drama, which also has elements of magic realism, a
disease is being passed from mother to daughter through breast milk. It turns
out, the mothers were all victims of the decades-long battle between the
Peruvian government and Shining Path terrorists.
"The Milk of Sorrow" wasn't the only South American title to win big
at Berlin. Argentinean filmmaker Adrian Biniez won the Jury Grand Prix Silver
Bear for his debut "Gigante," sharing the honor with "Everyone
Else," the sophomore feature from German director Maren Ade.
"Gigante," which follows a lonely supermarket security guard and his
obsession with the shop's nighttime cleaner, also picked up the prize for best
first feature and shared the Alfred Bauer Prize, given in honor of the
Berlinale's founder, with "Tatarak" from veteran Polish director
The best actress Silver Bear went to German actress Birgit Minichmayr for her
role in "Everyone Else" as an energetic woman in a complicated
relationship. Up-and-comer Minichmayr beat out presumed favorites Brenda Blethyn
("London River") and Renee Zellweger ("My One and Only") for
But Blethyn's "London River" co-star Sotigui Kouyate took the best
actor Silver Bear for his stirring performance as a father looking for his lost
son in the wake of the London terrorist bombings.
Iranian drama "About Elly," which many had tipped to take the top
prize, went home with the best director Silver Bear for Asghar Farhadi.
Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon won the best script Silver Bear for their
screenplay to "The Messenger," the story of two U.S. soldiers tasked
with telling a young widow her husband has died in Iraq.
"Katalin Varga," a Transylvanian-set revenge drama from British
director Peter Strickland, won the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic
contribution for its soundtrack.
The full list of winners for the 59th Berlin International Film Festival is
Golden Bear for best film: "The Milk of Sorrow" (director Claudia
Jury Grand Prix, the Silver Bear: "Gigante" (director Adrian Biniez)
and "Everyone Else" (director Maren Ade )
Best director Silver Bear: Asghar Farhadi for "About Elly"
Best actress Silver Bear: Birgit Minichmayr for "Everyone Else"
Best actor Silver Bear: Sotigui Kouyate for "London River"
Best first feature Silver Bear: "Gigante" (director Adrian Biniez)
Best script Silver Bear: "The Messenger" (director Oren Moverman)
Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution in the category of sound:
"Katalin Varga" (director Peter Stickland)
The Alfred Bauer Prize: "Gigante" (director Adrian Biniez) and "Tatarak"
(director Andrzej Wajda)
Other winners: 'Yes
Men' wins Panorama audience award