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'On Body and Soul' wins Golden Bear

Ildikó Enyedi's "On Body and Soul" is the winner of the 67th Berlinale. The Hungarian film not only carried off the Golden Bear but also the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, in addition to the Prize of the International Film Critics Association Fipresci, and the Berliner Morgenpost’s Reader Jury Prize.

The seven members of the 2017th edition of Berlinale's International Jury this year were led by director Paul Verhoeven, and included Maggie Gyllenhaal, Diego Luna, Dora Bouchoucha Fourati, Olafur Eliasson, Julia Jentsch, and Wang Quan’an as well. Verhoeven said that „the jury fell in love with this movie not only because of its superior craftsmanship, but because it reminds us of a word we often use too easily, compassion” The International Film Critics Association gave its Fipresci award to 'On Body and Soul' because it ”is an idiosyncratic love story full of lyricism and humour, free of all social conventions. It impresses us with the subtlety and eloquence of its style and involves us in its joy of living and loving."

The Ecumenical Jury members included president Charles Martig, S. Brent Rodrigues-Plate, Annette Gjerde Hansen, Markus Leniger, Zsuzsanna Bányai and Herrmann Kocher, who awarded Ildikó Enyedi’s feature as well with the following statement: “Many of us struggle with some kind of disability – whether physical or mental. 'On Body and Soul' is a touching and twisted love story set in a slaughterhouse. The souls of the main characters seem to be connected but they struggle to come close physically. Ildikó Enyedi creates a tender visual story, activating our senses, while raising questions about our connection to each other. The film shows ways we can overcome our incomplete natures and connect with other physical beings.

Ildikó Enyedi's feature also won the readers’ prize of German daily Berliner Morgenpost. The jury is made up of twelve readers of the daily newspaper Berliner Morgenpost, which is established in 1898.

'On Body and Soul' is a strangely beautiful love story, which takes place in a slaughterhouse in Budapest. No sooner does Mária start work as the new quality controller than the whispers begin. At lunch the young woman always chooses a table on her own in the sterile canteen where she sits in silence. She takes her job seriously and adheres strictly to the rules, deducting penalty points for every excessive ounce of fat. Hers is a world that consists of figures and data that have imprinted themselves on her memory since early childhood. Her slightly older boss Endre is also the quiet type. Tentatively, they begin to get to know each other. Recognising their spiritual kinship, they are amazed to discover that they even have the same dreams at night. Carefully, they attempt to make them come true. This story of two people discovering the realm of emotions and physical desire, at first individually and then together, is tenderly told by director Ildikó Enyedi, but in a way that also exudes subtle humour. A film about the fears and inhibitions associated with opening up to others, and about how exhilarating it can be when you finally do.

Ildikó Enyedi was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1955. She began her career as a concept and media artist before turning to short and feature films as a writer and director. She has received more than 40 international awards for her work. Her film 'My 20th Century' was chosen as one of the best 12 Hungarian films of all time. In 1992 she was a member of the Berlinale’s International Jury. She teaches masterclasses in film at the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest. She is a founding member of the European Cross Media Academy and a member of the European Film Academy.

 (Photo: MTI / EPA)

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