On Wednesday February 16, Spanish filmmaker Carla Simón received the Golden Bear at the Berlinale for her film Alcarrassucceeding Julia Ducourneau, Palme d’Or at Cannes last July for Titaniumand Audrey Diwan, Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival forEvent in September. Three directors successively awarded at the three biggest European film festivals.
The 72nd edition of the Berlin film festival ended on Wednesday evening February 16 with the enthusiasm of the return of an edition to cinemas. Seven of the 18 films in competition were directed by women, and nine of the eleven main prizes were awarded to women.
The big winner is the young Spaniard Carla Simón, who received the Golden Bear for her second film, Alcarras, portrait of Catalan farmers. She dedicated this award “ to small farming families who cultivate their land every day to fill our plates. Their way of working today, respecting the land, is probably a form of resistance today“. This project was shot in an isolated Catalan countryside, with professional farmers but not actors, in a context still complicated by the Covid.
Among the other women of cinema rewarded in Berlin, let’s start with the immense Claire Denis, 75, winner of the prize for best director for With love and determination. The interpretation prize, now “gender neutral”, was awarded to the German-Turkish actress Meltem Kaptan for her role in Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush, directed by German Andreas Dresen. Screenwriter Laila Stieler received the screenplay award for this film. In the parallel section “Encounters”, the Austrian Ruth Beckermann walked away with the prize for the best film for her documentary, while the special jury prize was awarded to Mitra Farahani, a young Iranian painter and filmmaker who filmed an epistolary encounter between Ebrahim Golestan, 99-year-old Iranian writer, and Jean-Luc Godard, 91. Finally, the best short film is Trap by Anastasia Veber. The two men on the list, the prolific Hong Sang Soo (Korea) and the wise Rithy Panh (France-Cambodia) who each received a Silver Bear in their category, did not shy away from their pleasure.
The next step in the rise of female filmmakers will take place in the United States at the Oscars. On March 22, we will know if Jane Campion will be crowned there for The power of the dog (12 nominations). A film produced by Netflix, so that we unfortunately cannot discover in a cinema. But as my grandmother said, “every problem in its time”.
Who is Carla Simon?
It is already the Berlinale which has highlighted this young director of 35 years: her first film Summer 1993 received the prize for the best first work there in 2017. She recounted the departure for the countryside of a six-year-old orphan taken in by her uncle and aunt and their 3-year-old granddaughter. A film that the director dedicated to her mother.
The next movie, Alcarras, also takes place in the countryside, but this time it is about warning about the end of a world through a family of fruit tree farmers who want to take their land away from them. A subject again close to the life of the filmmaker, who grew up in a family of peach harvesters.
Carla Simón has been supported since her debut by a producer, María Zamora, who accompanied her to the final closing press conference after the award ceremony. To the journalists who did not fail to underline the majority of prize winners, Carla Simón replied: ” There were a lot of women competing in Berlin, and a lot of prizes were awarded to women, it’s true. I think it’s a trend that will stay, our frame of reference changes. When I was a film student, I had trouble finding female directors to refer to. The situation changes, because there is a will for it. The new generation will have more female references than us. We are half of humanity, so we have to tell half the stories.»
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Female directors triumph at the Berlin festival – Les Nouvelles NEWS