FESTIVALS: Berlin hands top prizes to Iran’s There Is No Evil, Korea’s The Woman Who Ran

Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof’s There Is No Evil has won the Golden Bear at the 70th Berlinale, while South Korea’s Hong Sangsoo won the Silver Bear for best director for The Woman Who Ran. 

Rasoulof was unable to attend the festival as he has been banned from leaving Iran since his arrest last year. The producers of the film, Farzad Pak and Kaveh Farnam, and the director’s daughter, Baran Rasoulof, collected the award on his behalf. 

There Is No Evil, a story about the death penalty, was filmed in secret in Iran. The film also won two other prizes at the Berlin film festival – the Guild Film Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Two other Iranian films have previously won the Golden Bear, the festival’s top prize – Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation (2012) and Jafar Panahi’s Taxi Tehran (2015). 

Hong Sangsoo has previously been selected for Berlin competition three times, with Night And Day (2008), Nobody’s Daughter Haewon (2013) and On The Beach At Night Alone (2017), with the latter film winning a Berlin Silver Bear for best actress (Kim Minhee). 

The Woman Who Ran follows a woman who visits two friends, while her husband is away on a business trip, and also runs into another friend. Kim Minhee also stars in the film, along with Seo Younghwa, her co-star in On The Beach At Night Alone

Meanwhile, the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Eliza Hittman for Never Rarely Sometimes Always, and a special Silver Bear to mark the festival’s 70th anniversary went to Benoit Delépine and Gustave Kervern for Delete History (see full list of International Competition winners below). 

The International Jury was headed by UK actor Jeremy Irons and also included French actress Berenice Bejo, German producer Bettina Brokemper, Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, US writer-director Kenneth Lonergan, Italian actor Luca Marinelli and Brazilian director Kleber Mendonca Filho. 

The Berlin film festival also introduced a separate competition section this year, entitled Encounters, with a jury including Chilean filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor. Best film in this section was presented to The Works And Days (Of Tayoko Shiojiri In The Shiotani Basin), directed by C.W. Winter and Anders Edstrom, while the Special Jury Award went to The Trouble With Being Born, from Sandra Wollner (see full list of Encounters winners below).

Among other winners at the festival, Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh won the Berlinale Glashütte Original – Documentary Prize for Irradiated, which premiered in the International Competition. 

This year’s Berlin film festival was the first headed by new artistic director Carlo Chatrian and executive director Mariette Rissenbeek, following the departure of previous head Dieter Kosslick. 

BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL 2020 WINNERS:

Main competition: 

Golden Bear for Best Film – There Is No Evil, Mohammad Rasoulof

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize – Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Eliza Hittman

Silver Bear for Best Director – Hong Sang Soo, The Woman Who Ran

Silver Bear for Best Actress – Paula Beer, Undine

Silver Bear for Best Actor – Elio Germano, Hidden Away

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay – Bad Tales, the D’Innocenzo Brothers

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution, Costume or Set Design – Dau. Natasha, Jürgen Jürges

Silver Bear 70th Berlinale – Delete History, Benoît Delépine, Gustave Kervern

Encounters:

Best Film – The Works and Days (Of Tayoko Shiojiri In The Shiotani Basin), C.W. Winter, Anders Edström

Special Jury Award – The Trouble With Being Born, Sandra Wollner

Best director – Malmkrog, Cristi Puiu

Special mention – Isabella, Matías Piñeiro