Berlinale Blogger: “A love letter to cinema” – The winners at the Berlinale

Golden Bear: “Taxi” by Jafar Panahi – Hana Saeidi, the niece of director Jafar Panahi, accepted the prize on his behalf. | Photo: Richard Hübner © Berlinale 2015

Golden Bear: “Taxi” by Jafar Panahi – Hana Saeidi, the niece of director Jafar Panahi, accepted the prize on his behalf. | Photo: Richard Hübner © Berlinale 2015

by Madeleine Prahs

Iranian director and regime critic Jafar Panahi takes the Golden Bear for “Taxi”, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay Silver Bears for best acting in Andrew Haigh’s splendid chamber drama “45 Years”.

Hanna Saeidi stretches her arm, holding the Golden Bear high and smiling from ear to ear. She’s Jafar Panahi’s niece. His wonderful film Taxi has just won the Bear, but Panahi is not attending. The regime critic is under house arrest at home in Iran, where he shot the film although banned from filmmaking. Taxi is “a love letter to cinema”, said jury president Darren Aronofsky upon announcing the winner. The jury’s decision is a clear-cut signal, a plea for artistic liberty and freedom of speech.

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Gluten-Free Buckwheat: Once a Poor Man’s Grain in Germany

by Nadia Hassani

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

In recent years, the gluten-free diet wave has swept through Germany like through so many other industrialized countries. It catapulted the book Wheat Belly by US physician William Davis to the bestseller list (its German title, Die Weizenwampe, is even more colorful than the English – “Wampe” means fat belly in German). And, with the gluten-free wave, scores of gluten-free products have been washed onto supermarket shelves.

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Berlinale Blogger: “Amal” Wins Best Documentary Award

Producer Sara Bökemeyer and director Mohamed Siam receive the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung for International Cooperation for their project “Amal”. | Photo: David Ausserhofer © Berlinale 2015

Producer Sara Bökemeyer and director Mohamed Siam receive the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung for International Cooperation for their project “Amal”. | Photo: David Ausserhofer © Berlinale 2015

by Christopher Resch, @Gigi300

When I met Mohamed Siam at the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival in November 2014, it took him all of five minutes to get me excited about his “Amal” project. And I was not the only one: the Robert-Bosch-Stiftung has now paid tribute to the film at the Berlinale.

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Berlinale Blogger: Living queer in Kenya

“Stories of our Lives” by Jim Chuchu | © Dan Muchina

“Stories of our Lives” by Jim Chuchu | © Dan Muchina

by Steve Mbugu

“Stories of our Lives” from director Jim Chuchu features five individual true stories, which are entangled around the common struggle of living queer in Kenya – a marginalized community in Kenya.

The 62 minutes black and white film is directed by Jim Chuchu and co-written by Njoki Ngumi from the NEST collective in Nairobi. It is a great combination of an exceptional cast, world class cinematography and great editing.

“Ongea na Mimi Poa”

The film opens with a story called Ongea na mimi poa (Talk to me nicely). It is the story of Kate, who is a highschool student. Kate is in dilemma over her sexual orientation and desires versus what the authorities and the world around her expect. Struggling between the two divergent forces, the movie seeks to show Kate’s journey to self-determination.

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Berlinale Blog A day in the life of a Berlinale blogger

Photo: Alexander Janetzko © Berlinale 2015

Photo: Alexander Janetzko © Berlinale 2015

von Barbara Oswald

10 days, 400 films – the Berlinale 2015. I’m here in Berlin covering the films for Goethe.de. What an average day here looks like?

Friday, 6am. I wake up because my short-term flatmates – fellow students from Munich here for the Berlinale too – have to get up and out early. They’ve got student accreditation, which has the decisive drawback of having to queue up from 7am if they want a shot at the most popular screenings. It’s a little more relaxed with my press accreditation, 8.30am will do. I nod to them with a look of commiseration (for which I receive black looks in return) and go back to sleep.

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Berlinale Blogger: Sinners in limbo

"El Club" by Pablo Larraín | © Fabula

“El Club” by Pablo Larraín | © Fabula

by Pablo López Barbero, @pablolbarbero

The enormous potential of Chilean cinema is again conspicuously clear at this year’s Berlinale. “El Club” is a powerful picture about the dark side of the Catholic Church and the moral abyss.

The film is about a group of retired priests living cut off from the rest of the world in a little village on the Chilean coast. They lead a placid, laid-back life there, taking long walks, training a greyhound for the races, gardening.

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