February 2016, berlinale forum

Caligari Prize for "Akher ayam el madina" ("In the Last Days of the City")


AKHER AYAM EL MADINA (IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY) by Tamer El Said receives this year's Caligari Award. The jury members were Rüdiger Suchsland (FILMDIENST), Christine Müh (Kommunales Kino Pforzheim) and Wolfgang Dittrich-Windhüfel (Kommunales Kino Freiburg). Their statement: A fairytale-like search for times lost that is, at the same time, an utterly contemporary, attentively awake movie experience. An essayistic, fictional, and documental film about the making of films; an intimate self-portrait and meditation on the last summer before the revolution — nostalgic, sensual, intelligent. How does one convey the universe of a city in film? This is a question that this film answers most-convincingly: to wit, fragmentarily, with a watchful eye open to the coincidental and, at the same time, a sophisticated sense of the art of staging. This is a film that knows its great role models – whether they are named Rossellini, Godard, Chris Marker, or perhaps even Dominik Graf – but which is also never slavishly dependent upon them. Indirectly and with overflowing stylistic cunning, the film slyly presents an entire region that has unjustly been in the shadows for far too long; a region that currently lies in the center of attention, but is nevertheless once again being obscured by clouds of ignorance and prejudice. This film is an outstanding example of how, as Godard put it, cinema is "not about making political films, but about making films politically".

In addition, two special mentions were given to TEMPESTAD by Tatiana Huezo and THE REVOLUTION WON'T BE TELEVISED by Rama Thiaw.

The Prize, presented by the German Association of Municipal and Cultural Cinemas in cooperation with the German magazine FILM-DIENST, includes a €4,000 endowment, half of which is given to the award recipient while the other half is used to fund the distribution of the winning film in Germany.