Berlin Film Festival: “Synonyms” Wins Golden Bear

Tom Mercier, Quentin Dolmaire, and Louise Chevillotte in "Synonymes"

The Berlin Film Festival handed out its honors Saturday in the Berlinale Palast. 

The night’s biggest winner was Nadav Lapid’s Synonyms that took home this year’s Golden Bear. 

The French-German-Israeli co-production took home the festival’s highest honors. An early favorite, the film follows 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.”

Synonyms stars first-timer actor Tom Mercier in what many say is a definite breakout role, however, the honors for best actor went to  Wang Jingchun in So Long, My Son.

The Silver Bear went to French drama By the Grace of God. François Ozon’s feature delves into a story of abuse in the Catholic Church inspired by a real-life case. 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 69th Berlin International Film Festival unspooled circa 400 films and logged more than half a million admissions by both public and industry. 

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