“Touch Me Not / Nu ma atinge-ma”, Adina Pintilie’s first feature, has won the Golden Bear trophy on Saturday night, at the 68th edition of the Berlin Film Festival, the movie being also the winner of the Best First Feature Award.
The movie was appreciated by the specialists as being impressive by intelligence, self-confidence and originality.
“Touch Me Not”, which competed along with other 18 movies for the “Golden Bear”, has divided the audience of the 68th edition of the Berlin Film Festival – an edition that was marked by movies about migration and portraits of artists, but without having a dominant theme, according to Reuters. The movie was a surprising choice for the most wanted award of the Berlinale – which annually presents famous filmmakers, as well as new names in the film industry – shocking a part of the audience with its explicit scenes, as Reuters and DPA mentioned.
The jury – led by the German director Tom Tykwer, and which also included Cécile de France, Adele Romanski, Stephanie Zacharek, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Chema Prado – made a surprise by granting the “Golden Bear” to the co-production directed by Pintilie, an exploration at the half of the distance between fiction and documentary about intimacy and sexuality, after an edition marked by debates on the place of the women in the seventh art, according to AFP.
“It’s not about what film industry can do, but where it can take us” Tykwer motivated the jury’s decision, being quoted by DPA.
Placed at the boundary between fiction, documentary and visual art, courageously experimenting both in terms of content and cinematic language, “Touch Me Not” – filmed over 10 weeks, between 2015 and 2017, with a mixed casting of professional actors (Tomas Lemarquis, Laura Benson) and real persons – is a personal investigation of the idea of intimacy, of the human need to have a real contact. A woman and two men are seeking intimacy. Lost in the cold immensity of the city, their solitudes meet each other – by accident or by the will of the destiny – in a strange attempt to have a contact, according to the synopsis of this feature published by cinemagia.ro.
The casting of the feature, which is a Romanian, German, Czech, Bulgarian and French production, with a budget of approx. EUR 1 million, includes Laura Benson (“Someone Else in the Evening”), Tómas Lemarquis („X-Men: Apocalypse”) , Christian Bayerlein, Grit Uhlemann, Hanna Hofmann, Seani Love, Irmena Chichikova, Rainer Steffen, Georgi Naldzhiev and Dirk Lange.
The producers are Mnica Lazurean-Gorgan (4 Proof Film) and Adina Pintilie (Manekino Film). Co-producers are Unlimited (France) and Rohfilm (Germany). “Touch Me Not” was funded by the Eurimages fund, while the development of the cinema project was performed in Torino Lab, the Cinefondation Workshop and Binger Lab.
The National Center of Cinematography rejected twice the funding for this cinema project, and in the end it granted RON 700,000 in 2013.
This is the second Golden Bear trophy received by a Romanian feature, after the performance achieved by “Pozitia copilului”, directed by Calin Peter Netzer in 2013.
Granting the “Golden Bear” – the most important award of the Berlin Festival, awarded by an international jury starting from 1956 – to the filmmaker Adina Pintilie, comes in the context in which Romania imposed as an important force on the world film industry in the last 10 years, after Cristi Puiu’s movie “Moartea Domnului Lazarescu” contributed to the appearance of the so-called New Wave of the Romanian Cinematography, according to DPA. It was followed by director Cristian Mungiu, who won Palm d’Or at Cannes, in 2007, with “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”, and by Calin Peter Netzer, who became, five years ago, the first Romanian director who won the “Golden Bear” at Berlin, with “Pozitia Copilului”, a story about corruption in the post-communist Romania.
Adina Pintilie: “Touch Me Not” will be perceived by a very subjective manner. It is a necessary movie, an invitation to empathy
Obviously excited, Adina Pintilie said on the stage of the Gala: “We didn’t expect that. It’s so important that this is happening, because we would like the dialogue that ‘Touch Me Not’ proposes to reach all over the world. Therefore, we invite you, the spectators, to a dialogue. I thank to the whole team for their trust in this long journey. I thank to the jury and to the festival” stated the 38 years old director – known for the short film “Balestiera #186” and for the medium films “Nu te supara, dar…” and “Oxigen” – when receiving the award. The director also confessed to the audience attending the Berlinale’s awarding ceremony that she is in a “feverish state” after she got a flu – a perfectly appropriate state, as she mentioned, to accept this prestigious distinction.
“There were some very interesting days. I was curious to see how the press and the audience will react, because the movie is an invitation to dialogue. We challenge the viewer to reconsider his idea on intimacy, on beauty. The reactions were divided, and this says a lot about… The movie will be perceived by a very subjective manner. It depends on what it will touch in each of us. For many people, it will not be comfortable, but we challenge them to make an introspection. We are so glad for this award. It makes sense, because the movie was necessary, especially these days, when the fear towards the others is growing, and when there are so many conflicts in the world. It is an invitation to empathy. To accept the other, who is different than you” Adina Pintilie stated in the press conference held after the end of the awarding ceremony.
The movie presents people craving for intimacy, but at the same time being afraid of it. “It’s an inner struggle. The title is a contradiction between the need of intimacy and the fear of it. It’s a grammatical impossibility, but that’s the point”.
Regarding the 7 years in which she worked at the movie she mentioned: “When I was 20, I thought I know everything about love. The whole project stated from this idea. The movie started from documentaries, from my curiosity to rediscover the world and understand how people can experience intimacy in very many ways. For two years, I made casting, looking for people to accompany me in this crazy journey, and I found a group of amazing people. They were incredibly courageous, to assume so many risks – to open so much in front of the camera”.
“It was more like a process of making a documentary. It’s not a documentary, but a fusion between reality and fiction” Pintilie added, according to Agerpres.
“I believe there are many courageous producers fighting to fund their movies and present them to the people. I believe this little baby (the Golden Bear Trophy – e.n.) should urge distributors be courageous and show them to the public. Because we don’t make movies for ourselves, but for the people” producer Bianca Oana stated.
President Klaus Iohannis congratulates director Adina Pintilie for the Golden Bear Award received at the Berlin International Film Festival
On Sunday, President Klaus Iohannis congratulated Adina Pintilie, the director of the movie “Nu ma atinge-ma / Touch Me Not”, the winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, and he wished her good luck in her future projects.
“Congratulations to Adina Pintilie, the director of the movie ‘Nu ma atinge-ma / Touch Me Not’, for winning the ‘Golden Bear’ Award at the Berlin International Film Festival! I wish her good luck in her future projects!” President Klaus Iohannis wrote on his Facebook page.
Photo source: AP