Our Top 5 Moments of the Berlinale 2014
5. International Film success:
Diao Yinan’s Chinese noir drama Black Coal, Thin Ice won the Berlinale’s Golden Bear on Saturday- the highest accolade at the festival. In what has been a seeming tradition in recent years, the festival jury, headed this year by James Schamus, spread the goods far and wide, with only “Black Coal” winning more than one award: actor Liao Fan nabbed the Silver Bear for his performance in the gritty crime drama about a boozed-up and jaded former detective who begins to investigate an old unsolved homicide case after a series of mysterious new murders in a northern Chinese factory district.
4. A Star is Born!
Ellar Coltrane, 19, wowed the critics in his starring role in Richard Linklater’s latest offering Boyhood which was actually shot over the course of 11 years in-between Linklater’s other films. When it starts, Mason (Ellar Coltrane) is seven years old, but through the course of the movie we see him—and his family, including his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke)—age before our eyes. When the movie ends almost three hours later, he is 18 and we have witnessed the complete span of his childhood and adolescence and a mesmerizing performance from Ellar.
3. Arrival of the Mysterious Bagman:
Publicity – shunning Shia LaBoeuf actually made the biggest headlines at this year’s festival- by wearing a paper bag over his head with the phrase “I am not famous anymore” scribbled across it. He chose to rock this particular look on the red carpet for the premiere of controversial Lars von Trier’s filmNymphomaniac. Was it unintentional? Is he really tired of being famous? Could he breathe properly under that thing? (We were assured that he could, and that the bag even moved when he smiled!) The paper bag stole the show and gossip column inches (making it one of the most talked about films of the festival… Well-done Shia)
2. Clooney’s Conga!
During the press conference for Monuments Men, George Clooney’s large-scale WW2 drama shot in Berlin, he decided against a stuffy photo-call and instead led his star-laden cast in an impromptu conga dance around the photographers. We’re not sure about you, but the sight of seeing the likes of John Goodman, Bill Murray and Hugh Bonneville letting loose for the camera was a welcome addition to the festivities.
1. All Hail Wes Anderson:
The opening ceremony, which featured Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel drew in a huge crowd, who got their first glimpse of the line-up of famous faces who flocked to Berlin. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Jeff Goldblum, it was a hit among reviewers and fans and received the Silver Bear grand jury prize. We loved it- our students loved it, and it was the perfect show-stopping opener to an outstanding festival.