Chinese Film Noir ‘Black Coal, Thin Ice’ Wins Golden Bear

On 17/02/2014 by Site Default
Black Coal, Thin Ice Film Still - H 2014
Courtesy of Fortissimo
The film from director Diao Yinan is set in the Chinese provinces.

Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel” takes Berlinale Jury Prize as Richard Linklater wins best director Silver Bear for “Boyhood.”

Black Coal, Thin Ice, a Chinese film noir from director Diao Yinan has won the Golden Bear for best film at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival. The film’s star, Liao Fan, took the Silver Bear honor for Best Actor for his portrayal of a comic, alcoholic detective working in the Chinese provinces.

Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel, a star-studded love letter to pre-WWII Europe, won the Grand Jury Prize, the Berlinale’s runner-up honor, while Richard Linklater‘sBoyhood, a coming-of-age tale shot over 12 years with the same actors – including Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, won the Best Director Silver Bear.

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But it was China’s night, as the Berlinale International Jury, headed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter and ex-Focus Features CEO James Schamus, handed out three top trophies to Chinese films. In addition to the two for Black Coal, Thin Ice, there was a Silver Bear for Lou Ye‘s drama Blind Massage honoring “extraordinary artistic achievement.” Schamus wrote the screenplay to The Wedding Banquet and has been a frequent collaborator with Ang Lee, penning the scripts to such films asCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Lust, Caution.

Black Coal, Thin Ice is the first Chinese film to win top honors in Berlin since Wang Quan’an‘s  Tuya’s Wedding in 2007. But Berlin has always been a premiere platform for new Chinese cinema. The Berlinale gave Golden Bear trophies to Zhang Yimou in 1988 for Red Sorghum and to Lee (Life of Pi) in 1993 forThe Wedding Banquet (an honor he shared ex aequo with fellow Chinese filmmaker Xie Fei for Xiang hun nu).

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Richard Linklater accepted his best director honor on behalf of the “over 400 people” who worked on Boyhood in the course of its incredible 12 year shoot.

Wes Anderson was unable to attend the awards ceremony in Berlin Saturday night but sent a message saying Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick could keep his Grand Jury prize Silver Bear safe for him. Accepting the statuette, Kosslick said he would be flying to New York next week in any case and would deliver the award to Anderson personally.

The Silver Bear for best actress went to Japanese actress Haru Kuroki, who plays a girl who leaves her rural hometown to work as a maid in Tokyo in Yoji Yamada’s period melodrama The Little House. Siblings Anna and Dietrich Bruggemann won the best screenplay Silver Bear for their script toStations of the Cross, a stunning drama about a young girl’s journey through faith, which Dietrich Bruggemann directed.

The Alfred Bauer Prize, named after the Berlinale’s first festival director, went to veteran French filmmaker Alain Resnais for his latest ensemble piece, Life of Riley, which also picked up the FipresciInternational Critics Prize as best film, one of the many independent awards presented ahead of Berlin’s official prize gala Saturday night.

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