66th International Film Festival Berlin

11.02.2016 to 21.02.2016
Der müde Tod

Fritz Lang: Der müde Tod (Source: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung)

The prize winner of the Ecumenical Jury, "Fuocoammare" (Fire at Sea) by Gianfranco Rosi, was also awarded by the International Jury with the Golden Bear, and furthermore with the prize of the Amnesty International Jury. Belgian director Bouli Lanners took away the Panorama Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, as well as the Prize of the European cinemas "Europa Cinema Labels". In the Forum, the Ecumenical Jury awarded ex aequo "Les sateur" (Those Who Jump) by Abou Bakar Sidibé, Estephan Wagner, and Moritz Sieber, and "Barakah yoqabil Barakah" (Barakah Meets Barakah) by Mahmoud Sabbagh.

Winner of the Silver Bears were Danis Tanovic (Grand Prix of the Jury for "Smrt u Sarajevu"/Death in Sarajevo) and Mia Hansen-Løve (Best Direction, "L'avenir"/The Future).

"Hail, Caesar!" from the Brothers Coen was the opening film of the Berlinale 2016. 18 competition entries competed for the Golden Bear and the Silver Bears awarded by the international jury headed by Meryl Streep, among them the new films by Mani Haghighi (Iran), Lav Diaz (Philippines), Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark), Jeff Nichols (USA), and André Téchiné (France). "24 Weeks" by Anne Zorah Berrached was the only German competition entry. A Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement the Berlinale awarded to the German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus. A highlight of the Berlinale Classics was the screening of a restored verison of Fritz Lang's "Der müde Tod" (Destiny) from 1921.

The Ecumenical Jury was introduced at the ecumenical reception taking place on Sunday, February 14.

© Ekko von Schwichow

Link: Berlinale website

Awards of the Ecumenical Jury

Fire at Sea
Fire at Sea
Directed by:

Fuocoammare interweaves the destinies of African refugees with the life of an Italian fishing family on the island of Lampedusa. Through poetically meaningful images, Rosi illuminates these separate worlds, connecting them through the character of a doctor, and through the motif of the sea, which nourishes some and kills others. A film that crafts a new perspective of the catastrophe, a film that refuses to allow the status quo to go unquestioned. 

The First, The Last
Das Ende ist erst der Anfang
Directed by:

Two outcast lovers on the run. Two hitmen on their trail. Many gunshots. And it all oddly leads to a powerful plea for humanity. With gorgeously photographed lonely landscapes and endearingly hopeful characters, this playfully apocalyptic western paints a desolate road toward salvation, but the journey is worth the wait and the work because, as one character beautifully states, "There is more to life than breathing." Bouli Lanners' LES PREMIERS, LES DERNIERS urges us to breathe and travel together.

Those Who Jump

Les Sauteurs depicts the plight of African refugees from a bold new perspective. Entrusting the camera to their co-director Abou Bakar Sidibé, a young Malien hoping to enter Europe across the notorious fences of Melilla, directors Moritz Siebert and Estephan Wagner create an intimate portrait of a community in harsh conditions. The film encourages us to look beyond countless dots on a computer monitor to see individuals who suffer, hope and endure.

Barakah Meets Barakah
Directed by:

Barakah Meets Barakah is a classic ‘boys meets girl’ story transposed to a refreshing and challenging context. It proposes a reflection on freedom and the role of the women in Saudi society, on the expression of self in spite of cultural impositions. The film uses humour and charm to render its political message about youth seeking freedom accessible.

More about the festival

In a sermon held on February 28, 2016, in New York's Judson Memorial Church, Rev. Micah Bucey reflected his experiences as first-time member of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlinale, and how they relate to the Gospel.
Micah Bucey, member of the Ecumenical Jury of the Berlinale 2016, reports about the festival.