China's stylish film noir "Black Coal, Thin Ice" by Diao Yinan about a washed up ex-cop investigating a series of grisly murders won the Berlin film festival's Golden Bear top prize on Saturday.
"It's really hard to believe that this dream has come true which didn't come true for such a long time," Diao said as he accepted the trophy, fighting back tears.
The picture is set in the late 1990s in northern China and its murder mystery plot is told through enigmatic flashbacks.
"Black Coal, Thin Ice" divided audiences in Berlin but won critical praise. It is Diao's third feature film.
The movie also won the best actor award Saturday for Liao Fan's role as a former policeman turned detective investigating a series of killings.
"Yesterday was Valentine's Day and also the beginning of spring in China and the whole of Berlin was in love. Yesterday was also my 40th birthday," Liao said.
"I think this was the most wonderful present you could give me."
Wes Anderson's historical caper "The Grand Budapest Hotel,'' offering a nostalgic look back at a Europe lost to war claimed the jury grand prize, which comes with a runner-up Silver Bear.
'Boyhood' won over critics and audiences
The picture starring Ralph Fiennes had opened the Berlinale on February 6.
Texas filmmaker Richard Linklater, whose innovative coming-of-age drama "Boyhood" was 12 years in the making and a critical and audience hit at the festival, won best director.
"I accept it on behalf of the more than 400 people who worked on my movie," said Linklater, clutching the trophy.
"This says best director but I want to think of it as best ensemble."
Haru Kuroki took home the best actress gong for her role as a discreet housemaid in the Japanese production "The Little House" from veteran director Yoji Yamada, a film about a covert love affair set in wartime Tokyo.
"I will take this happiness and joy for winning the prize back to Japan," Kuroki said, wearing an elegant kimono.
The awards were decided by an eight-person jury headed by American director and producer James Schamus ("Brokeback Mountain") after a festival lasting 11 days in which some 400 films were screened, 23 of them in the competition category.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters and AP)
Date created : 2014-02-15