Berlin 1999

  • Ron Holloway


WHEN THE INTERNATIONAL JURY chose to ignore John Madden's Shakespeare in Love (UK) for Golden Bear honours in favour of giving the Grand Prix to Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line (USA), you can guess what happened next: audiences jammed Berlin venues to see Shakespeare in Love immediately after the festival closed, to be followed a few weeks later with the Academy Award victory. By an odd coincidence, Berlinale history had repeated itself - for thirty years ago, back in 1969, the international jury had bypassed John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy (USA) for the Golden Bear, only to suffer a bit of embarrassment when both director and film went on to win Academy Awards. At least this time around, Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, the screenwriters on Shakespeare in Love, were awarded a Silver Bear for "Single Artistic Achievement" - an acclamation that is puzzling, distinguished though it may sound....