February 2009, berlinale forum

Prizes: Independent Juries

Cong Feng director of "Doctor Ma's Country Clinic" and the members of the NETPAC jury. Photo: Dario Lehner

The independent juries at this year's Berlinale have awarded prizes to 4 further films from the Forum program: Treeless Mountain, Cea mai fericită fată din lume (The Happiest Girl in the World), The Day After and Doctor Ma's Country Clinic.

The Prize of the Ecumenical Jury for a film in the Forum program went to Treeless Mountain by So Yong Kim, who also receives 2500 Euro. The jury consisted of Charles Martig, Switzerland (Präsident), Angelika Obert (Germany),Théo Peporte (Luxemburg), Milan Simacek (The Czech Republic), Marjorie Suchocki (USA) and Katharina Zeckau (Germany).

"At the heart of this Korean film are two young children, abandoned by their Mother, and deposited with their alcoholic aunt.  They are left to fend for themselves in a world that overlooks their vulnerability. By telling the tale from the children’s perspective Treeless Mountain skilfully illuminates the effects of parental absence, abdication of responsibility and economic marginalisation. This is well balanced by the understated depiction of the gentle care of an aged grandmother, firmly earthed in the natural world, who gives them a most precious commodity: her time."

The Conféderation Internationale des Cinémas D'Art et Essai (C.I.C.A.E.), the International Association of Art Cinema awarded a prize to Cea mai fericită fată din lume (The Happiest Girl in the World) by Radu Jude. The Forum jury consisted of Györgi Kárpáti (Hungary), Silvia Angrisani (France) and Jörg Jacob (Germany).

"This charming and highly entertaining film relates the story of a typical Romanian family who travel from the country to the capital so that they can accept a prize. During the course of the trip, the economical and social upheaval that Romania is undergoing is revealed in a highly comic way. The film shows us a world where driving a car won’t get you further, drinking orange juice doesn’t quench your thirst and a sneaky cigarette is the only freedom remaining...The great strength of the film lies in its capacity to entertain while remaining true to its high artistic ideals."

The NETPAC prize (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) was awarded ex aequo to Doctor Ma's Country Clinic by Cong Feng and The Day After by Lee Suk-Gyung. The members of the jury were Ulrich Köhler, Latika Padgaonkar and Edwin.

"Doctor Ma's Country Clinic for its deeply humanistic and sympathetic portrayal of a stoic community that has largely remained at the periphery of change.

The Day After for showing a complex human condition through a small fragment of a woman's life, and for the filmmaker's belief in the strenghth and beauty of the cinematic mis-en-scène."


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