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Cinema

Chinese crime film wins top Berlin prize

The Berlin Film Festival's top prize has gone to the Chinese crime film "Black Coal, Thin Ice" directed by Diao Yinan. Best Director went to Richard Linklater for "Boyhood." Best Actress went to Japan's Haru Kuroki.

The Golden Bear top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival was awarded Saturday to the Chinese entry "Black Coal, Thin Ice." Diao (pictured) crafted a crime story about a suspended policeman turned detective investigating a mysterious series of killings.

The film, whose Chinese title is "Bai Ri Yan Huo," also captured the Silver Bear best actor award for its star Liao Fan.

"It's really hard to believe that this dream has come true which didn't come true for such a long time," a tearful Diao said during his acceptance speech.

The picture is set in the late 1990s in northern China and its mystery plot is told through a set of enigmatic flashbacks.

Scene from the winning film

Liao put on weight to play the alcoholic suspended police officer who falls hard for a mysterious murder suspect (Gwei Lun Mei).

Diao's winning entry was one of three Chinese films in Berlin's main 20-movie competition this year.

Strong Asian showing

Haru Kuroki of Japan was awarded Berlin's prize for best actress for playing a discreet housemaid in wartime Tokyo in Yoji Yamada's "The Little House" that was directed by veteran filmmaker Yoji Yamada.

"I will take this happiness and joy for winning the prize back to Japan," Kuroki said, wearing a kimono.

Best director for 'Boyhood'

Richard Linklater won the Silver Bear as best director for "Boyhood," an epic filmed over 12 years about a boy growing up with chaotic divorced parents. It follows a boy and his family from first grade to college.

"I accept it on behalf of the more than 400 people who worked on my movie," said Linklater, clutching the trophy. "This says best director but I want to think of it as best ensemble."

The festival's runner-up Silver Bear Grand Jury prize went to US director Wes Anderson for his nostalgic movie " The Grand Budapest Hotel," which was set against the backdrop of the buildup to the Second World War.

The picture starring Ralph Fiennes had opened the Berlinale on February 6.

Best screenplay

The Silver Bear for best screenplay went to the brother and sister team Dietrich and Anna Brueggemann for their film "Stations of the Cross." The German entry starring Lea van Acken is about a 14-year-old girl who falls victim to a fundamentalist Catholic sect.

The awards were decided by an eight-person jury headed by American director and producer James Schamus. Some 400 films were screened, with some 20 of them in the competition category.

The Ethiopian film "Difret", based on a real case of bride abduction in Ethiopia, took the audience award.

Now in its 64th year, the contest also known as the Berlinale is also one of the world's top three film festivals, along with Cannes and Venice. This year's Berlin lineup included more than 400 films overall.

ipj/tj (dpa, Reuters; AFP)

DW.DE