Touch Me Not, a Romanian film about fear of intimacy and achieving sexual liberation was the unexpected winner of the Golden Bear, the Berlin film festival’s top award at the festival’s concluding ceremony on Saturday.
Directed by Adina Pintilie, Touch Me Not was picked ahead of 18 other films, including Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and Utoya July 22, by a jury headed by German director Tom Tykwer, best known for Run Lola Run. Based around an English woman’s attempt to overcome her intimacy issues, and ranging across everything from disability to sex clubs, Touch Me Not blends fiction and documentary and is Pintilie’s first feature film.
The runner-up grand jury prize went to Mug (AKA Twarz), from Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska, about a building worker who needs a face transplant after a gruesome accident. Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw described it as “a strange, engaging film – well and potently acted and directed”, delving as it does in questions of national identity that are currently convulsing Poland.
Isle of Dogs was not completely ignored by the jury however: Anderson was given a Silver Bear for best director for his stop-motion animation about a pack of dogs living in a dystopian near-future Japan, which the Guardian’s Jonathan Romney said “shows an indefatigably fertile imagination letting rip in inimitable style” in a four-star review. Bill Murray, who voices one of the dogs, accepted the award on Anderson’s behalf.
The two Silver Bears for acting went to Ana Brun, star of The Heiresses, a Paraguayan film directed by Marcelo Martinessi about two apparently-prosperous women in a lesbian relationship who run into financial troubles, and Anthony Bajon as a junkie trying to beat his addiction in a priest-run retreat in the Cédric Kahn-directed drama The Prayer.