Romanian director Adina Pintilie wins the top prize at the 68th edition of the Berlin Film Festival.
The top prize of the
68th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival, the
prestigious cinematographic event that dominates the beginning of each year,
goes to a Romanian production for the second time. Adina Pintilie on Saturday
night won the Golden Bear trophy for her film Touch Me Not, as well as the best
first feature award. Adina Pintilie was visibly touched and surprised when she
got up on the Berlinale stage to receive the top prize.
Her film is about
intimacy as a fundamental aspect of human existence. A European co-production
shot over a period of 10 weeks between 2015 and 2017 and with a mixed cast of
professional and non-professional actors, Touch Me Not follows a series of
characters craving intimacy and at the same time being afraid of it. A woman
and two men, alone and lost in the cold immensity of the city, come together
looking for authentic human contact.
On the border
between fiction, documentary and visual art, the film had mixed reviews in
Berlin. It competed for the Golden Bear alongside 18 other productions, many of
which were about migration and portraits of artists, despite there being no
overarching theme, as noted by Reuters. Touch Me Not was a surprise choice, a
film that shocked viewers with some explicit scenes, Reuters also notes. The
film is an invitation to dialogue and to embrace otherness, said Pintilie, who
also admitted that her film may not exactly make for comfortable viewing. "We
wanted to award prizes not just for what cinema can
do and where it is, but where it could go in the future," said the German director and president of the
Berlin Film Festival jury Tom Tykwer,
explaining the jury's decision.
Adina Pintilie's award comes at a time when Romania is
recognised as a force to be reckoned with in world cinema. The so-called
Romanian New Wave started with Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr Lazarescu and was
followed by Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which won the
Cannes Festival in 2007, and Calin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose, the winner of
the Golden Bear in Berlin five years ago. The list should also include Radu
Jude's Aferim!, which received a Silver Bear in 2015.