EntertainmentBerlin Film Festival awards Golden Bear to 'Dahomey', a crucial documentary on colonial looting

Berlin Film Festival awards Golden Bear to 'Dahomey', a crucial documentary on colonial looting

Mati Diop (director) and Lupita Nyong'o (jury president)
Mati Diop (director) and Lupita Nyong'o (jury president)
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4:33 AM EST, February 25, 2024

The renowned festival in Berlin concludes on Sunday. The final day will host, among other events, screenings of award-winning films. The major decisions took place on Saturday night. This year's Berlinale didn't witness a clear favorite for the main prize, and the winner was ultimately chosen by the jury, led by Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o.

The coveted Golden Bear was awarded to a film by Paris-born director Mati Diop, who collaborated with institutions in Senegal and Benin, to create a documentary dedicated to works of art stolen in the 19th century by French colonial troops from the Dahomey kingdom in Africa, located on the Gulf of Guinea.

"Dahomey" chronicles the story of 26 royal artifacts from the Kingdom of Dahomey (1600-1904). These treasures were looted during the colonial era and transported from Benin to France. Diop focuses on the ongoing battle to return these artifacts to their rightful owners — the people of Benin.

Winner's List

- We have the choice to erase the past or take responsibility for it, to use it as a foundation to build upon. The choice is ours. As a French-Senegalese director, I made my choice. I am among those who refuse to forget. I reject amnesia as a course of action. I stand in solidarity with my compatriots in Senegal, who are battling for democracy and justice - expressed the creator of the winning film.

Berlinale 2024: Complete Winner's List in the Main Competition

  • Golden Bear: "Dahomey", dir. Mati Diop
  • Silver Bear - Grand Jury Prize: "A Traveler's Needs", dir. Hong Sang Soo
  • Silver Bear - Jury Prize: "L'Empire", dir. Bruno Dumont
  • Silver Bear for Best Leading Role: Sebastian Stan in "A Different Man", dir. Aaron Schimberg
  • Silver Bear for Best Supporting Role: Emily Watson in "Small Things Like This", dir. Tim Mielants
  • Silver Bear for Best Direction: Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias for "Pepe"
  • Silver Bear for Best Screenplay: Matthias Glasner for "Sterben"
  • Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement: Martin Gschlacht for cinematography in "Des Teufels Bad", dir. Veroniki Franz and Severin Fiala
  • Honorary Golden Bear: Martin Scorsese
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