Catalan family drama 'Alcarràs' wins Berlin's Golden Bear

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Carla Simon receives the Golden Bear for best film for her movie 'Alcarras' during the awarding ceremony at the International Film Festival Berlin 'Berlinale', in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

BERLIN – The Catalan family drama “Alcarràs” won the Golden Bear award for best movie at the Berlin International Film Festival on Wednesday.

Director Carla Simón's film was picked from a field of 18 by a seven-member jury under American filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.

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He said the movie was honored “for its extraordinary performances, from the child actors to the actors in their 80s, for the ability to show the tenderness and comedy of family and struggle, and for the betrayal of our connection and dependence on the land around us.”

The film depicts a family that spends its summers picking peaches in an orchard in a village in Spain's Catalonia region, but faces new owners who plan to replace the peach trees with solar panels.

Meltem Kaptan took the best leading performance honor for the title role in German director Andreas Dresen's “Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush.”

She played the mother of a German-born Turkish man, Murat Kurnaz, who was held as a suspected terrorist at Guantanamo Bay for four years. He was released in 2006 and returned to Germany after a U.S. federal judge found that evidence did not justify his detention and then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel intervened.

French director Claire Denis was chosen as best director for her new film “Both Sides of the Blade,” starring Juliette Binoche.

The grand jury prize went to the Korean movie “The Novelist's Film,” directed by Hong Sangsoo.

The Berlin event is the first of the year's major European film festivals. It went ahead this year in a pared-down format designed to bring audiences back but reduce COVID-19 infection risks at the same time.

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