Berlin Film Festival: “Synonyms” Wins Golden Bear

This year’s Golden Bear goes to Nadav Lapid’s Synonyms. 

The French-German-Israeli co-production helmed by Israeli director Lapis has taken home the highest honors at this year’s Berlinale. A festival favorite, the film who stars first-timer actor Tom Mercier, is about a former IDF soldier trying to reinvent himself in Paris. 

According to Variety, when accepting the award Lapid said that the provocative film would likely be considered scandalous in Israel and France as it skewers stereotypes from both nations, but for him its “a big celebration of cinema.”

The Silver Bear went to François Ozon’s French drama By the Grace of God. The film delves into a story of abuse in the Catholic Church inspired by a real-life case. 

The festival’s jury also awarded German filmmaker Angela Schanelec won best director for her drama I Was at Home, But and the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize to Nora Fingscheidt’s System Crasher.

The six-person international jury was headed by Juliette Binoche. 

The 69th Berlin International Film Festival unspooled circa 400 films.

Check out the full list of winners below. 

Golden Bear for Best FilmSynonyms, Nadav Lapid

Silver Bear Grand Jury PrizeBy the Grace of God, François Ozon

Silver Bear for Best Director: Angela Schanelec, I Was at Home, But

Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize: Nora Fingscheidt’s System Crasher

Silver Bear for Best Actress: Yong Mei, So Long, My Son

Silver Bear for Best Actor: Wang Jingchun, So Long, My Son

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay: Piranhas, Maurizio Braucci, Claudio Giovannesi and Roberto Saviano

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution, Costume or Set DesignOut Stealing Horses, Rasmus Videbæk

Berlinale Glashütte Original – Documentary Prize: Talking About Trees, Suhaib Gasmelbari

Best First Feature: Oray, Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay

Golden Bear for Best Short Film: Umbra, Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell

Silver Bear for Short Film Jury PrizeBlue Boy, Manuel Abramovich

Audi Short Film AwardRise, Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca