Amidst all the beauty of the moment one should not forget the situation in which this award ceremony took place. A situation which meant that giving the top prize to a filmmaker who, for years, has been suffering under the repressions of a regime which wants to see him silenced, was both very special and an “important signal against the constraining of art” (Andreas Borcholte, Spiegel Online, February 14, 2015): on January 7, 2015 Islamists virtually obliterated the editorial department of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in a bloodbath; on the very day that the Bears were being presented, a man shot at a Copenhagen cafe in which a panel discussion on the topic of "art, blasphemy and free speech" was being held. The separation between cinema and the real world was more fragile than ever. And so, during the presentation of the Prizes by the Independent Juries on the afternoon of February 14, Festival Director Dieter Kosslick urged the audience not to forget the outside world, the realities beyond the hubbub of the festival: “In his short speech, he finds brave, even angry words for the connection between planet Berlinale and the rest of the world; for the fact that the festival is only worth anything at all if the one is concerned with the other.” (Marie Rövekamp, Tilman Strasser, Der Tagesspiegel, February 14, 2015). Kosslick, who extended his commitment as Festival Director until 2019 only in November, appeared liberated and, already at the festival opening, made the cheeky promise that he will only show good films from now on because it is stipulated in his contract. He has been proven right.
An Uncompromising Eye for Quality
Because in 2015 everything came together. Art embraced cinema embraced politics. Strong subject matters were packed into even stronger films: “This year the Competition astonished with a remarkably multi-faceted, multi-voiced programme. It tackled the topics of freedom, abuse, sexual oppression, exploitation – all highly political. But regular viewers were not left heavy-hearted in their cinema seats after the screenings. The subtlety of approach, the artfulness and occasionally even the comic were remarkable” (Wenke Husmann, Die Zeit, February 15, 2015).