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BERLINALE PRIZES: 'Black Coal' Takes Golden Bear, Americans Linklater and Anderson Settle for Silver Prizes

Photo of Tom Christie By Tom Christie | Thompson on Hollywood February 15, 2014 at 4:12PM

The 64th Berlinale closed this evening with James Schamus's jury's surprise awarding of the Golden Bear, which many expected to go to Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” but went instead to Diao Yinan’s atmospheric noir, “Bai Ri Yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice).”
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'Black Coal'
'Black Coal'
'Boyhood'
'Boyhood'

The 64th Berlinale closed this evening with James Schamus's jury's surprise awarding of the Golden Bear, which many expected to go to Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” but went instead to Diao Yinan’s atmospheric noir, “Bai Ri Yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice).” 

Set in Northern China in 1999, it follows an ex-cop investigating the appearance of several chopped up bodies in a coal processing plant and the woman at the heart of the murders, with whom he falls inexorably in love. Intriguing and entertaining, channeling classic American detective thrillers, “Black Coal, Thin Ice” also happens to be overlong and a not a little confusing. It does feature a strong lead actor in Liao Fan, who received the Silver Bear for best actor, but it’s hard to see how the film stands up to “Boyhood" (review here). Perhaps the jury was put off by articles in Berlin newspapers this week basically handing the award to Linklater, who did take home a consolation prize, the Silver Bear for best director. 

Richard Linklater
Richard Linklater

Wes Anderson, director of “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” received the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize. (Review here, junket quiz here) Presenter and jurist Greta Gerwig read a letter from Anderson, who thanked the Berlinale for his “first actual metal award from a film festival.” Alain Resnais’ “Aimer, boire et changer (Life of Riley),” the latest from the 91-year-old director, received the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives. This seems a curious category for a film of a play (by Alan Ayckbourn), but whatever, it’s Alain Resnais.

Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson

Berlin siblings Dietrich Brüggemann and Anna Brüggemann were awarded the Silver Bear for Best Script for their popular “Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross),” directed by Dietrich Brüggemann (review here). The Silver Bear for Best Actress went to Haru Kuroki in Yoji Yamada’s “Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House)” while the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution was picked up by Zeng Jian for his camera work in Lou Ye’s film, “Tui Na (Blind Massage).”  

Other prizes included Best First Feature Award to “Güeros” from Mexican director Alonso Ruiz Palacios; the Golden Bear for Best Short Film went to “Tant Qu’il Nous Reste des Fusils a Pompe (As Long As Shotguns Remain)” by Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel; and the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) was awarded to Guillaume Cailleau’s “Laborat.”

More awards details here. 

This article is related to: Berlin International Film Festival, Richard Linklater, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson, Wes Anderson, Festivals, Awards, Awards


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.