The 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, which began February 7, ended Sunday with a triumph for Eastern European cinema. The main prize, the Golden Bear, was awarded to Romanian filmmaker Calin Peter Netzer for his drama Pozitia Copilului ("Child's Pose"). Netzer accepted the trophy from Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick (left) on Saturday night during the official closing ceremony.
"Child's Pose" tells the story of an overprotective mother who wants to spare her son legal trouble after a traffic accident. To do so, she leaves all moral considerations behind. The Romanian film convinced Wong Kar Wai and his jury, who called it a portrait of a post-socialist society in crisis.
The Bosnian docudrama "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker" picked up two Silver Bears. Star Nazif Mujic was awarded the prize for best actor, while director Danis Tanovic (pictured) won the Jury Grand Prix. The film tells the story of a poor Roma family that doesn't have the money to pay for a lifesaving surgery.
Chile's Paulina Garcia was named best actress of the festival. In Sebastian Lelio's "Gloria" she portrays a woman who, after her divorce, tries to find new happiness in life. She was one of the favorites for the award early on, as "Gloria" was one of the few movies that truly captured the Berlinale audience.
The 63rd edition of the Berlinale continued a trend from the past few years: once again, the competition was dominated by somber films critical of society. But festival director Kosslick added a number of US productions and film stars to provide some glitz and glamour - a bold balancing act, which was only partly successful.
Standing ovations and the Silver Bear for best script were awarded to the makers of "Pardé." Bringing the Iranian production into the competition was difficult from the start. Its dissident director, Jafar Panahi, is under house arrest and not officially allowed to do his job. In Berlin, co-director Kamboziya Partovi accepted the award.
It was clear to Berlinale visitors that US cinema is struggling. Competition entries from established directors like Gus Van Sant and Steven Soderbergh were disappointments. Only one American production was deemed prizeworthy: David Gordon Green's "Prince Avalanche" took home the Silver Bear for best director.
From an overall mediocre competition, the jury was able to pick half a dozen films to honor with awards. The jury, led by Wong Kar Wai (pictured here with jury member Shirin Neshat, left, and his wife Esther) was lauded for its selection. The success of Eastern European productions was seen as a notable new development.
The Bears may steal the spotlight, but the Berlinale would only be half-complete without its several showcases. According to many visitors, the Forum and Panorama sections often screen the best films of the festival. Berlinale also means business: as in previous years, the European Film Market at Martin Gropius Bau (pictured) was bursting at the seams.
The Berlinale's main asset, however, remains its audience. During the 10 days of the festival, Berliners flocked to the cinemas. As in previous years, around 300,000 tickets were sold and most screenings were sold out - and not only at the Berlinale Palace (pictured). These days, the festival also takes place in suburban venues, reaching an even larger audience.
Berlinale 2013 has announced its winners, with the best film coming from Romania and the grand jury prize going to a Bosnian docudrama.