Touch Me Not: Controversy over Berlinale winner
The provocative film Touch Me Not by the 38-year old Romanian director Adina Pintilie was the surprise winner of this year's Golden Bear at the Berlinale film festival. It is a semi-documentary film about Laura, a woman who doesn't want to be touched, and about the different forms and boundaries of human sexuality. The film has received plenty of negative reviews - but some commentators praise its courage.
Daring film good for Romania
The Romanian service of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle defends the film and the decision to award it the prize, arguing that without freedom art dies.
“Out of fear for the country's image some people are judging and condemning the film without having seen it. They are doing this on the basis of Western reviews. ... They must realise that art dies without freedom, that we are at risk of returning to the Middle Ages, and that approaching the topic of sexuality on strictly Christian terms is extremely difficult, both ethically and aesthetically. If we fail to modernise because we lack the courage and reject artistic freedom, we are condemned to fail as a nation. When will we finally understand this?”
Bulgarians adorn themselves with borrowed plumes
If you read the Bulgarian media reports on Touch Me Not, you might think that the Bulgarian co-producers had won the Golden Bear, writes an embarrassed 24 Chasa:
“Yet Bulgarian involvement was limited to financial and logistical support and one attractive supporting actress. ... As much as we love to hate the Romanians, we have to admit that they understand more about cinema than we do. ... Our habit of adorning ourselves with borrowed plumes is incredibly provincial and harks back to the days of late Communism, when people used to claim that John Atanasoff invented the computer and Petar Petrov the electronic clock.”