film festivals

‘Isle of Dogs’, ‘Touch Me Not’ among top winners at Berlin Film Festival

Romanian director Adina Pintilie’s ‘Touch Me Not’ won the Golden Bear and the Best First Feature award.

The 68th Berlin Film Festival awarded its highest honour, the Golden Bear, to the Romanian movie Touch Me Not on Sunday. Adina Pintilie’s debut film is about an elderly British woman exploring her body and her sexuality, and features many scenes of nudity.

Pintilie thanked her actors in her acceptance speech “for your courage”. Touch Me Not also won the Best First Feature award.

Among the 19 contenders for the Golden Bear were Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, David and Nathan Zellner’s Damsel, Christian Petzold’s Transit, Marcello Martinesse’s The Heiresses and Erik Poppe’s U – July 22. The six-person jury was headed by German director Tom Tykwer. “We found out that what we would like to give an award for what cinema can do today, but for what it will be able to do one day,” Tykwer said.

Touch Me Not.

The Best Director award went to Wes Anderson for his acclaimed stop motion feature Isle of Dogs, in which a young boy travels to an island where dogs have been quarantined to look for his missing pet. Bill Murray, who voices the canine named Boss in the movie, accepted the prize on behalf of the director. “I never thought I’d go to work as a dog and come home with a bear,” Murray said.

Isle of Dogs.

The runner-up award, the Silver Bear Grand Jury prize, was bagged by Twarz, Malgorzata Szumowska’s film about the first man in Poland to receive a face transplant. The Best Actress prize was won by Ana Brun for The Heiresses. Brun plays a lesbian whose partner is imprisoned. The Heiresses also won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, named for the founder of the prestigious festival.

The Heiresses.

The best actor award went to Anthony Bajon for Cedric Kahn’s The Prayer. The French actor plays a heroin addict who turns to religion to overcome addiction.

The best screenplay award was given to Alonso Ruizpalacios and Manuel Alcala for Ruizpalacios’s Museum. Gael Garcia Bernal plays a thief who steals artifacts from Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology.

The Prayer.

Ruth Beckermann’s The Waldheim Waltz, about former United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim who was revealed to have Nazi connections, won the Glashutte Original documentary award. The Golden Bear for Best Short Film went to Ines Moldavsky’s The Men Behind the Wall. The Audi Short Film Award was won by Reka Bucsi for Solar Walk. The Silver Bear for Short Film Jury Prize went to Samuel Ishimwe’s Imfura.

The Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution in the categories of camera, editing, music score, costume or set design went to Elena Okopnaya for the costumes for Alexey German Jr’s Dovlatov, a biopic of Russian novelist Sergei Dovlatov.


A total of 396 films were screened at the festival, including two by Indian directors – Q’s Garbage and Payal Kapadia’s short film And What is the Summer Saying.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Do you really need to use that plastic straw?

The hazards of single-use plastic items, and what to use instead.

In June 2018, a distressed whale in Thailand made headlines around the world. After an autopsy it’s cause of death was determined to be more than 80 plastic bags it had ingested. The pictures caused great concern and brought into focus the urgency of the fight against single-use plastic. This term refers to use-and-throw plastic products that are designed for one-time use, such as takeaway spoons and forks, polythene bags styrofoam cups etc. In its report on single-use plastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has described how single-use plastics have a far-reaching impact in the environment.

Dense quantity of plastic litter means sights such as the distressed whale in Thailand aren’t uncommon. Plastic products have been found in the airways and stomachs of hundreds of marine and land species. Plastic bags, especially, confuse turtles who mistake them for jellyfish - their food. They can even exacerbate health crises, such as a malarial outbreak, by clogging sewers and creating ideal conditions for vector-borne diseases to thrive. In 1988, poor drainage made worse by plastic clogging contributed to the devastating Bangladesh floods in which two-thirds of the country was submerged.

Plastic litter can, moreover, cause physiological harm. Burning plastic waste for cooking fuel and in open air pits releases harmful gases in the air, contributing to poor air quality especially in poorer countries where these practices are common. But plastic needn’t even be burned to cause physiological harm. The toxic chemical additives in the manufacturing process of plastics remain in animal tissue, which is then consumed by humans. These highly toxic and carcinogenic substances (benzene, styrene etc.) can cause damage to nervous systems, lungs and reproductive organs.

The European Commission recently released a list of top 10 single-use plastic items that it plans to ban in the near future. These items are ubiquitous as trash across the world’s beaches, even the pristine, seemingly untouched ones. Some of them, such as styrofoam cups, take up to a 1,000 years to photodegrade (the breakdown of substances by exposure to UV and infrared rays from sunlight), disintegrating into microplastics, another health hazard.

More than 60 countries have introduced levies and bans to discourage the use of single-use plastics. Morocco and Rwanda have emerged as inspiring success stories of such policies. Rwanda, in fact, is now among the cleanest countries on Earth. In India, Maharashtra became the 18th state to effect a ban on disposable plastic items in March 2018. Now India plans to replicate the decision on a national level, aiming to eliminate single-use plastics entirely by 2022. While government efforts are important to encourage industries to redesign their production methods, individuals too can take steps to minimise their consumption, and littering, of single-use plastics. Most of these actions are low on effort, but can cause a significant reduction in plastic waste in the environment, if the return of Olive Ridley turtles to a Mumbai beach are anything to go by.

To know more about the single-use plastics problem, visit Planet or Plastic portal, National Geographic’s multi-year effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis. From microplastics in cosmetics to haunting art on plastic pollution, Planet or Plastic is a comprehensive resource on the problem. You can take the pledge to reduce your use of single-use plastics, here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic, and not by the Scroll editorial team.