Israeli short film takes the Golden Bear at the Berlinale

'The Men Behind the Wall' is an irreverent look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of the dating app Tinder.

February 25, 2018 11:39
2 minute read.

The Man in the Wall - trailer (YouTube/ International Film Festival Rotterdam)

The Man in the Wall - trailer (YouTube/ International Film Festival Rotterdam)


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An Israeli film, Ines Moldavsky’s The Men Behind the Wall, won the Golden Bear Award for Best Short Film at the 68th Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival.

The prizes were announced at a ceremony on Saturday night.

The Men Behind the Wall is an irreverent look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of the dating app Tinder. The app keeps suggesting that the director date Palestinian men who live on the other side of the security barrier, and she follows through and contacts them. The movie is now eligible for consideration for a Best Short Film Oscar and will also be a nominee for the Best Short Film in the European Film Awards.

Other movies directed by women dominated the Berlinale Prizes this year in support of the 50/50 Movement, an initiative that seeks to correct gender imbalance in the male-dominated field of movie directing.

The Golden Bear for Best Feature Film went to Touch Me Not, a docudrama by Romanian director Adina Pintilie, about people who search for love and intimacy in different ways. One of the characters is played by Christian Bayerlein, a man with spinal muscular atrophy. The movie challenges conventions about body image and sex. The film also won the GWFF Best First Feature Award.

The Silver Bear for Grand Jury Prize went to Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska’s Mug, an off-beat film with comic overtones about a man recovering from an accident.

The Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize went to The Heiresses, a rare film from Paraguay, which was directed by Marcelo Martinessi about an older lesbian couple. Ana Brun won the festival’s Best Actress Award for her performance in the film.

The Silver Best Actor Award went to Anthony Bajon for his performance in Cedric Kahn’s The Prayer, about a man trying to kick his drug habit in a program supervised by the Catholic Church.

Bill Murray accepted Wes Anderson’s Silver Bear for Best Director for Isle of Dogs, the movie that opened the festival, an animated allegory about cruelty and redemption. Murray said, in his acceptance speech, “I never thought that I would go to work as a dog and come home with a bear.”

The Silver Bear for Best Screenplay went to Manuel Alcalá and Alonso Ruizpalacios for Museum, an innovative heist drama from Mexico starring Gael Garcia Bernal.

Dovlatov, Aleksey German’s portrait of a Soviet-era Jewish writer — which would have gotten my vote for Golden Bear had I been on the jury — received a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution for its production designer, Elena Okopnaya.

The Glashütte Original Documentary Award went to Ruth Beckermann for The Waldheim Waltz, about UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim and his Nazi past.

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