Touch Me Not, a provocative film about sexuality and intimacy that features long stretches of graphic nudity, has won the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear for Best Film. Romanian director Adina Pintilie’s drama was a surprise pick by the Berlinale Jury, headed by German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).
The confident debut, which follows a 50-something woman with intimacy issues who visits a call boy, sex therapist and even a bondage club as she explores her sexuality, was anything but a safe choice. In picking Touch Me Not over more crowd-pleasing titles in Berlin — such as Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs or Thomas Stuber’s romantic drama In The Aisles —the jury seems keen to send a message about notions of beauty and diversity, appropriate for a festival that has been dominated by #MeToo style discussions around power structures on and off screen in the film industry. Touch Me Not also picked up Berlin’s best first feature honor.
“We wanted to award prizes not just for what cinema can do and where it is but where it could go in the future,” said Tykwer, explaining the jury’s decision.