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BERLINALE 2024 Awards

Mati Diop’s Dahomey bags the Berlinale Golden Bear

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- BERLINALE 2024: The 74th edition also saw the triumph of Hong Sangsoo’s A Traveler’s Needs, Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias’ Pepe and Bruno Dumont’s The Empire

Mati Diop’s Dahomey bags the Berlinale Golden Bear
Director Mati Diop with her Golden Bear for Dahomey (© Dario Caruso)

The 74th Berlinale was brought to a close tonight by the traditional awards ceremony at the Berlinale Palast, which saw the triumph of Mati Diop’s Dahomey [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, the winner of this year’s Golden Bear.

The gala opened with a huge round of applause for Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, having now helmed their last edition of the festival. A conversation with the host, Hadnet Tesfai, followed, during which the pair reminisced about the challenges and the highlights of their five years working for the Berlinale. The German gathering’s new director, Tricia Tuttle, greeted by Rissenbeek, was in attendance, sitting in the audience.

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Lupita Nyong’o, chair of the jury, handed the Golden Bear to Diop. This is the second time in a row that a non-fiction title has taken home the top prize, after last year’s Golden Bear winner, On the Adamant [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nicolas Philibert
film profile
]
by Nicolas Philibert, did likewise. Diop thanked Chatrian, Rissenbeek, the jury and the selection committee, as they provided “the appropriate place and time to ‘defend’ this film”. During her speech, she invited people “to tear down the wall of silence together” and “to rebuild through restitution”, which entails “bringing justice”. She also expressed her solidary with Palestine.

Albert Serra invited the winner of the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize up on stage – namely, Hong Sangsoo for A Traveler’s Needs. The director thanked the jury and joked by saying: “I don’t know what you saw in the film.”

Christian Petzold was tasked with awarding the Silver Bear Jury Prize to Bruno Dumont’s The Empire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bruno Dumont
film profile
]
. Dumont played a humorous, pre-recorded speech through a text-to-speech app, owing to his admittedly poor grasp of the English language.

Ann Hui awarded the Silver Bear for Best Director to Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias, the helmer of Pepe [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nelson Carlo De Los Santos …
film profile
]
. Talking about his movie, he explained that he wanted to make “an opportunity [out of] a catastrophe”, while striving to go “beyond eurocentrism and American imperialism”.

The Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance, handed out on stage by Brady Corbet, went to Sebastian Stan for his role in A Different Man by Aaron Schimberg. On stage, Stan thanked the jury and said he wanted to share his prize with Renate Reinsve and, in particular, Adam Pearson. He defined the film he was part of as “a story about disfigurement and disability, both subjects long overlooked”.

Jasmine Trinca welcomed Emily Watson on stage, as she snagged the Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance thanks to her turn in Tim Mielants’ festival opener Small Things Like These [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, in which she starred alongside Irish talents Cillian Murphy and Clare Dunne, among others.

Oksana Zabuzhko rewarded the recipient of the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay, Mathias Glasner, the director of Dying [+see also:
film review
interview: Matthias Glasner
film profile
]
. She billed his film as “a story that goes to the very roots of any disruption, be it global or personal, [tackling] the lack of love and empathy”.

Nyong’o also handed the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to DoP Martin Gschlacht, who lensed “the masterfully shot historical drama” The Devil's Bath [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
film profile
]
.

The Encounters jury – made up of Lisandro AlonsoDenis Côté and Tizza Covi – revealed the recipient of the gong for Best Film: Guillaume Cailleau and Ben Russell’s Direct Action [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
. The jurors praised its “very patient, non-judgemental, delicate approach” as well as the “observational quality of this radical film”.

They also handed out two Special Jury Awards, ex aequo, to “the enjoyable, metaphorical journey” of Aliyar Rasti’s The Great Yawn of History and “the visually stunning proposition” offered by Qiu Yang’s Some Rain Must Fall [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
. Furthermore, the Best Director Award went to Juliana Rojas, the helmer of Cidade; Campo [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
.

The Berlinale Documentary Award, worth €40,000, is split between the director and the producer of the winning title, and is granted by pubcaster RBB. This year, the prize went to Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, Yuval Abraham and Rachel Szor’s No Other Land [+see also:
film review
interview: Basel Adra, Yuval Abraham
film profile
]
, a film that unanimously fascinated the jury and “whose importance is simply evident”. Invited up on stage, the filmmakers called for an end to the Israeli occupation.

A Special Mention was bestowed upon Guillaume Cailleau and Ben Russell’s Direct Action, described by these jurors as an “exciting, intelligently structured film that shows how people can act for a better, different world than the current one, and against which they rebel”.

The GWFF Best First Feature Award, worth €50,000 and split between the producer and the director, went to Phạm Ngọc Lân’s Cu Li Never Cries [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
. The jury defined it as an “inventive and contemplative” film about “a woman grappling with loss and loneliness”, also boasting “spontaneous moments of humour and imagination”.

Finally, the Golden Bear for Best Short Film went to Francisco Lezama’s An Odd Turn, and the Silver Bear, to Wenqian Zhang’s Remains of the Hot Day. Moreover, Eva Könnemann’s short That’s All From Me snagged a Special Mention and will also be the candidate for the next European Film Awards.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Competition

Golden Bear for Best Film
Dahomey [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Mati Diop (France/Senegal/Benin)

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
A Traveler's Needs – Hong Sangsoo (South Korea)

Silver Bear Jury Prize
The Empire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bruno Dumont
film profile
]
– Bruno Dumont (France/Italy/Germany/Belgium/Portugal)

Silver Bear for Best Director
Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias – Pepe [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nelson Carlo De Los Santos …
film profile
]
(Dominican Republic/Namibia/Germany/France)

Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance
Sebastian Stan – A Different Man (USA)

Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance
Emily Watson – Small Things Like These [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Ireland/Belgium)

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay
Matthias Glasner – Dying [+see also:
film review
interview: Matthias Glasner
film profile
]
(Germany)

Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution
Martin Gschlacht (cinematographer) – The Devil's Bath [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
film profile
]
(Austria/Germany)

Encounters

Best Film
Direct Action [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
– Guillaume Cailleau, Ben Russell (Germany/France)

Best Director
Juliana Rojas – Cidade; Campo [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(Brazil/Germany/France)

Special Jury Award (ex aequo)
The Great Yawn of History – Aliyar Rasti (Iran)
Some Rain Must Fall [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Qiu Yang (China/USA/France/Singapore)

Non-section-specific awards

Berlinale Documentary Award
No Other Land [+see also:
film review
interview: Basel Adra, Yuval Abraham
film profile
]
– Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, Yuval Abraham, Rachel Szor (Palestine/Norway)
Special Mention
Direct Action – Guillaume Cailleau, Ben Russell

GWFF Best First Feature Award
Cu Li Never Cries [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
– Lân Phạm Ngọc (Vietnam/Philippines/France/Singapore/Norway)

Berlinale Shorts

Golden Bear for Best Short Film
An Odd Turn – Francisco Lezama (Argentina)

Silver Bear Jury Prize
Remains of the Hot Day - Wenqian Zhang (China)

Special Mention
That’s All From Me – Eva Könnemann (Germany)

Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards
That’s All From Me – Eva Könnemann

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