(Berlin Film Fest) Spotlight falls on women

World | 12 Feb 2019 5:17 pm

Seven films among the 17 titles vying for Berlin's 2019 Golden Bear award have been directed by a woman. It is an unprecedented record for a leading film festival: Last year, Cannes had three; Venice had one. And the current Oscars' best picture nominations include none, Deutsche Welle reports.

The festival promises to highlight the work of women on a variety of levels. It kicked off on Thursday with Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig's The Kindness of Strangers. An initial member of the Dogme 95 movement, she also directed the award-winning An Education (2009).

The six-member festival jury in charge of picking the Golden and Silver Bears is headed by French actress Juliette Binoche. Her gender-balanced jury includes German actress Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann) as well as producer-director Trudie Styler (Freak Show).

Meanwhile, the Retrospective section, titled this year "Self-determined. Perspectives of Women Filmmakers," focuses on works by female directors of all genres from former East and West Germany, going back to the student movement of 1968 through the decade following the country's reunification in 1990.

Finally, the 2019 honorary awards handed out on February 14 also recognize the work of two female icons of cinema, British acting legend Charlotte Rampling and French New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda.

Incidentally, the trend is not completely new in Berlin. The festival's last two Golden Bears were awarded to women as well: Adina Pintilie for Touch Me Not in 2018 and Ildiko Enyedi for On Body and Soul. By contrast, the Cannes film festival has only ever once awarded the Palme d'Or to a female filmmaker — Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993.

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