Chinese film wins Best Picture at Berlin film festival

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The Chinese film Bai Ri Yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice) has won the Golden Bear for best picture at the Berlin international film festival.

Liao Fan won the prize for best actor in the same film, while Haru Kuroki won best actress for her role in the Japanese movie Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House).

American Richard Linklater was named best director for his film Boyhood.

An eight-person jury decides the awards.

This year it was headed by American director and producer James Schamus, probably most well-known for producing Brokeback Mountain.

Director Richard Linklater poses with his Silver Bear for Best Director Director Richard Linklater's film Boyhood followed the life of a boy from age 5 to 18
The Golden Bear for Best Film, on stage during the Berlin Film Festival, in front of someone's feet The Golden Bear for Best Film, on stage during the Berlin Film Festival

Bai Ri Yan Huo features an overweight detective, played by Liao Fan, on the trail of a serial killer.

"It's really hard to believe this dream has come true," a stunned Diao Yinan, director of the winning film, told the festival audience.

Richard Linklater's ambitious coming-of-age film Boyhood used the same child actors over a 12-year span.

Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel, the festival opener, took the Silver Bear grand jury prize, while the Ethiopian film Difret, based on a real case of bride abduction in Ethiopia, took the audience award.

The festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious film showcases in the world, but this year some critics complained of a dearth of strong entries, and a lack of films with strong political or social agendas.

Some 400 films have been screened during the 11-day festival, 23 of them in the competition category.

Last year, the main prize was awarded to the Romanian film Child's Pose.

On Friday, British director Ken Loach won an Honorary Golden Bear at what is formally known as the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival.

He was celebrated with a gala screening of his 1993 film Raining Stones, about a poverty-stricken suburban family.

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