Suspense at Berlinale 2024, before the Golden Bear ceremony

The jury of the 74th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival, chaired by the Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o – the first black personality to occupy this prestigious position – will announce on Saturday evening the winner of the Golden Bear, the most important prize of the Berlinale, among the twenty films in competition, reports AFP, quoted by Agerpres.

Berlin International Film Festival: PHOTO Facebook at Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival

According to a survey conducted among film critics by the British magazine Screen, among the favorites is the Iranian production “My Favorite Cake” and Austrian historical drama “The Devil's Bath”.

The success of the film “My Favorite Cake” takes on a special dimension, the two directors, Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha, being prevented by the regime in Tehran from taking part in the world premiere of their film in Berlin.

The film tells the story of Mahin, a 70-year-old widow who meets another pensioner, a taxi driver, in a restaurant. The two like each other and spend the night at her place, away from the prying eyes of the moral police.

The movie “it crosses so many red lines (for things) that have been banned in Iran for 45 years“, pointed out Maryam Moghaddam, in a video conference interview granted to AFP. “It is the story of a woman who lives her life, who wants to have a normal life, which is forbidden to women in Iran“, she added.

The other movie mentioned, “The Devil's Bath” which is set centuries before and thousands of kilometers from Iran, presents the tragedy of a young woman in rural Austria in the 1750s who suffers from depression and prefers to commit a crime rather than commit suicide in order to avoid eternal damnation.

Confessing the crimes brought the possibility of being forgiven by God before the execution, as explained by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, who directed this film.

And “A Traveler's Needs” received acclaim

Critics also praised the third film of the legendary French actress Isabelle Huppert made in collaboration with the South Korean director Hong Sangsoo, “A Traveler's Needs”.

Filmed with a video camera and a minimalist production, the film tells the story of Iris, a middle-aged woman in South Korea who uses an unusual method to teach French and has a weakness for makgeolli, a traditional drink from rice.

The documentary was also noted by critics “Dahomey” by French-Senegalese Mati Diop, which recounts the November 2021 return to Benin of 26 works looted in 1892 by French colonial troops, was also noted by critics.

Mati Diop, who received in 2019, for “Atlantique”the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the highest honor after the Palme d'Or, expressed his desire for his film to be “viewed in as many African countries as possible”in particular “in schools and universities”.

Reputed for being more political compared to the Cannes and Venice film festivals (the other two major European cinema events held in May and September respectively), the Berlinale awards, in addition to the top prize, the Golden Bear , seven Silver Bear trophies.

Gender neutral awards

The two awards for best performance in a leading or supporting role are gender neutral and replace those for best actor or best actress in Berlin.

Before the evening's awards ceremony, the festival awarded the Crystal Bear in the Generation 14 plus (children and teenagers) section on Saturday to the British film “Last Swim”, about the meeting of a young woman of Anglo-Iranian origin with a football player.

The eleven-day 74th Berlin International Film Festival opened with the world premiere of an Irish drama, “Small Things Like These”, an adaptation of the bestseller by the Irish writer Claire Keegan, whose hero is Cillian Murphy, one of the favorites at the Oscars this year after his role in “Oppenheimer”.

Production “On the Adamant” (“Sur l'Adamant”), directed by Nicolas Philibert, was awarded the Golden Bear for best film at the 2023 edition of the Berlin International Film Festival.