Historic triumph for Carla Simón: first Catalan Golden Bear at Berlin Film Festival

Catalan filmmaker wins festival's most important award with 'Alcarràs'

2 min
Carla Simón with the bear or golden bear

BarcelonaA historic milestone for Catalan cinema at Berlin International Film Festival. In 2017 Carla Simón burst onto the scene with the award for best debut feature and the Generation Kplus Grand Prix for Summer 1993. Five years later, the Catalan filmmaker has won the Golden Bear, the festival's most prestigious award. Simón has made history and become the first Catalan filmmaker to win this award. The extraordinary portrayal of family and farmers in Alcarràs has thus prevailed over other big names in this year's edition, such as the Chinese Li Ruijun, who in Return to dust accompanies a couple from a rural village in their difficulties to get by and who was also one of the bookies' favourites.

"I consider myself a child of the Berlinale. Maybe I should move here, every time I come here something extraordinary happens," said Simón, who was thankful for the award and dedicated it to her team, especially her producer, María Zamora. The filmmaker also had a few words for "the performers, who had never acted before and have put their soul into this film" and for her family, closely linked to Alcarràs. Simón dedicated the award "to the farmers who work the land every day and farm in a way that respects the land. Theirs is a form of resistance".

Alcarràs begins with a scene that seems to be taken from Summer 1993: three children living imaginary adventures in an abandoned car. But little by little we realise that the territory in which Simón moves is not children's games but the drama of a family of farmers who see how the verbal agreement which for decades has allowed them to farm peach trees on a land where the new owner, who inherited the land, wants to install solar panels after a last harvest. The owner offers the farmers jobs maintaining the solar panels, but it is not only money that is at stake: it is a way of life and an identity.

List of awards at the 72nd Berlinale

Golden Bear for Best Film

Carla Simón for Alcarràs

Grand Jury Prize

Hong Sang Soo for The novelist film

Silver Bear for Best Director

Claire Denis for Both sides of the blade

Silver Bear for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Meltem Kaptan for Rabiye Kurnaz vs George W. Bush

Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance

Laura Basuki for Nana: Before, Now and Then

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay

Laila Stieler for Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush

Silver Bear for Best Artistic Contribution

Rithy Panh for Everything will be okay

Best Documentary Award

Myanmar Diaries by The Myanmar Film Collective