Synonyms wins Golden Bear

Israeli drama takes top prize in Berlin

by Amber Wilkinson

Golden Bear winner Synonyms
Golden Bear winner Synonyms Photo: Guy Ferrandis/SBS Films/Berlinale 2019
Synonyms director Nadav Lapid and producer Ben Said
Synonyms director Nadav Lapid and producer Ben Said Photo: Ali Ghandtschi/Berlinale 2019
Israeli drama Synonyms has won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Nadav Lapid's film, which also won the FIPRESCI award, is about an ex-IDF soldier (Tom Mercier) who attempts to immerse himself in a new identity in Paris.

The Silver Bear went to French director François Ozon's story of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, By The Grace Of God, while Angela Schanelec became the first German woman to win the Best Director Silver Bear for her family drama I Was At Home, But. Fellow German director Nora Fingscheidt, won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for System Crasher, about a young girl's experience in the care system.

The acting awards went to the stars of Chinese family saga So Long, My Son - Yong Mei and Wang Jingchun - as a wife and husband struggling with the impact the Chinese one-child policy has on their lives and those of their social group.

The jury was headed by Juliette Binoche and featured Variety critic Justin Chang, Sandra Hüller, Sebastián Lelio, Rajendra Roy and Trudie Styler.

Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, known for his roles in Downfall and Wings Of Desire, was commemorated at the ceremony after his death, at age 77, was announced earlier in the day.

The full list of awards is below:

Golden Bear for Best Film Synonyms, Nadav Lapid

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize By The Grace Of God, François Ozon

Silver Bear for Best Director Angela Schanelec, I Was at Home, But

Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize Nora Fingscheidt’s System Crasher

Silver Bear for Best Actress Yong Mei, So Long, My Son

Silver Bear for Best Actor Wang Jingchun, So Long, My Son

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay Piranhas, Maurizio Braucci, Claudio Giovannesi and Roberto Saviano

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution, Costume or Set Design Out Stealing Horses, Rasmus Videbæk

Berlinale Glashütte Original – Documentary Prize Talking About Trees, Suhaib Gasmelbari

Oray, Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay

Golden Bear for Best Short Film Umbra, Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell

Silver Bear for Short Film Jury Prize Blue Boy, Manuel Abramovich

Audi Short Film Award Rise, Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca

FIPRESCI prize - Competition Synonyms

FIPRESCI prize - Panorama Dafne

FIPRESCI prize - Forum Die Kinder Der Toten

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