Berlin Film Festival: Refugee documentary Fire at Sea wins Golden Bear prize for best film

Italian director Gianfranco Rosi's film charts the rush of desperate African migrants risking sea crossings to Lampedusa

Adam Sherwin
Media Correspondent
Sunday 21 February 2016 00:16
Comments
Gianfranco Rosi said he hoped his film would raise awareness
Gianfranco Rosi said he hoped his film would raise awareness

A film charting the rush of desperate African migrants risking sea crossings to reach Italy won the prestigious Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival last night.

Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) was made by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, who shot on the tiny island of Lampedusa over the course of a year to tell the story of how local people deal with the arrival of 150,000 migrants. The winning choice follows a tradition at the festival, now in its 66th year, of celebrating socially conscious films. This year’s Berlinale has been described as a tribute to refugees and its director, Dieter Kosslick, said many of the nominated films had shed light on acts of humanity during times of international conflict. Meryl Streep and Clive Owen were among the jury judges.

Rosi said he hoped his film would help “raise awareness” of refugees drowning at sea.

Other films up for the Best Film prize included Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery), an eight-hour historical drama about the Philippines from director Lav Diaz. Its screening started at 9.30am and ended shortly before 7pm, with an hour-long break for lunch.

Diaz said: “We’re labelled ‘slow cinema’, but it’s not slow cinema – it’s cinema. I don’t know why every time we discourse on cinema we always focus on the length. It’s just like poetry, just like music, just like painting – where it’s free, whether it’s a small canvas or it’s a big canvas.” His film is set in the late-19th century during the Philippine revolution against Spanish rule and focuses on Andres Bonifacio y de Castro, considered one of the main instigators of the uprising.

Kosslick said the Berlinale celebrated diversity with films by African-American directors such as Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq and Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead, as well as contributions by Asian, Middle Eastern and African directors.

Actor Gérard Depardieu used his appearance to mock George Clooney, who met Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the refugee crisis. “I worry that it went badly,” he said. “It’s good that now you can be an actor and an ecologist and a politician. You can do everything.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in