BERLIN — This year’s Golden Bear for best feature film at the Berlin International Film Festival was awarded on Saturday to “Synonyms,” a dryly comic, largely autobiographical drama about a young Israeli trying to reinvent himself in modern-day Paris.
It was one of 16 films in competition at the festival, seven of which were directed by women. In his acceptance speech, Nadav Lapid, the film’s Israeli director, dedicated the award to his mother, who had edited much of the film but died during production. The selection committee was headed by the French actress Juliette Binoche.
Angela Schanelec of Germany took home the directing award for “I Was at Home, But,” an elliptical film about a widowed mother whose teenage son runs away from home.
In one of the most dramatic moments of this year’s festival, “One Second,” a drama by the acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou that is set during the Cultural Revolution, was removed from competition days before its planned premiere for “technical reasons,” a term frequently used in China as a euphemism for government censorship.
The Silver Bear, the runner-up prize, was awarded to François Ozon’s “By the Grace of God,” a drama based on a real-life sexual abuse case within the Roman Catholic Church in France. The film, a solemn work by Mr. Ozon, a veteran French director, had been one of the most critically lauded in the festival. The French priest the film is based on, who is accused of abusing dozens of boys, has filed a lawsuit trying to delay the film’s release in France.
Yong Mei took home the award for best actress and Wang Jingchun won best actor, both for their roles in the Chinese film “So Long, My Son” by Wang Xiaoshuai. In understated performances, Ms. Yong and Mr. Wang play a couple who lose their only son in an accident and are forced to cope with tumultuous events over several decades in China’s history.
The Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature that “opens new perspectives” was awarded to Nora Fingscheidt’s “System Crasher,” about a violent 9-year-old girl caught within the German social system. “Piranhas,” an Italian crime drama whose screenwriters included Roberto Saviano, the Italian writer and author of “Gomorrah,” took home the prize for best screenplay. The Teddy Award for best L.G.B.T.-themed feature film was given to “Brief Story From the Green Planet,” an Argentine film about friends who encounter an alien creature.
This year’s festival was the last Berlinale, as it is known in Germany, to be overseen by Dieter Kosslick, who has served as its director since 2001. In recent years, Mr. Kosslick has drawn criticism for what some observers have seen as an overly broad curatorial approach to the festival, which has grown significantly during his tenure. In November 2017, 79 members of the German film industry signed an open letter arguing that the festival required a “new start.”
Mr. Kosslick will be replaced by two co-chiefs. Carlo Chatrian, who was until recently the artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, will take over the Berlinale’s artistic direction, while Mariette Rissenbeek, who has previously been the managing director of German Films, a center for the promotion of German filmmaking, will lead the business side of the festival.
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