US director Steven Spielberg received the Honorary Golden Bear on Tuesday evening Berlinale received for his life’s work. The Berlinale bosses Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian presented him with the award. The audience celebrated 76-year-old Spielberg with minute-long ovations, and he too was visibly touched during the gala.
Spielberg said he owed a lot to German cinema. He named film pioneers such as Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and Ernst Lubitsch, but also directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Margarethe von Trotta, Wim Wenders, Wolfgang Petersen, Volker Schlöndorff and Tom Tykwer. “I’ve been inspired by all of them, by their films,” Spielberg said. “My work is somehow at home in Germany, and tonight I really feel almost at home here.” This is particularly meaningful to him because he is a Jewish film director, Spielberg said. It takes tremendous effort to heal the wounds. The director recalled the sentence that the opposite of justice is not injustice, but forgetting. “You can only heal historical wounds by remembering.”
Spielberg announced that he wants to make many more films: “I would like to surpass Manoel de Oliveira.” The Portuguese film director, who died in 2015, made his last film at the age of 106 Movie. “Maybe I can do it,” said the three-time Oscar winner. In a eulogy, U2 singer Bono described Spielberg as “the greatest of the greats in Hollywood”. Bono compared the director to his historical figures. “He’s been digging up the past for decades to see what that means for the present.” Spielberg is “a masterful storyteller” over thousands of years from dinosaurs to artificial intelligence. Spielberg’s films include Jaws, ET, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and West Side Story.
Spielberg’s latest film “The Fabelmans” was shown during the gala. It will be in German cinemas on March 9th. The story tells of Spielberg’s childhood and youth as the son of Jewish parents in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s – and his beginnings as a filmmaker.
The Berlinale has already honored a number of filmmakers for their life’s work, most recently the actresses Isabelle Huppert, Helen Mirren and Charlotte Rampling. Alongside Cannes and Venice, the International Film Festival is one of the most important film festivals in the world.