Festival in transition
At the 1961 Berlinale, the fundamental conflicts over content that had been sparked the year before were aggravated and therefore once again reflected the era. With films by Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, Peter Finch, Bernhard Wicki, Fons Rademakers and Chris.Marker, the programme was stronger than it had been in a long time. And yet in the public eye – and especially in the tabloid press – it was perceived that once again the stars were missing and that the glamour of earlier days had disappeared. Not only in Berlin, but also at the other big festivals, this transition from celebrity cinema to socially critical auteur cinema proved to be an acid test for an entire generation of critics and cultural players.
The jury, made up of celebrities such as Nicolas Ray, Satijat Ray and other filmmakers, showed it had a good eye with its decision to award the Golden Bear to Antonioni’s La Notte | The Night and two Silver Bears to Godard’s Une femme est une femme| A Woman is a Woman: one as a special prize to the director and one to Anna Karina for her portrayal of Angéla.