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Monday, 21 February, 2000, 14:52 GMT
Magnolia triumphs in Berlin

Julianne Moore with director Paul Thomas Anderson Julianne Moore with director Paul Thomas Anderson

Hollywood movie Magnolia has walked away with the Berlin Film Festival's most prestigious award.

The film, a psychological drama starring Tom Cruise and Julianne Moore, was awarded the festival's Golden Bear for best film.

The three hour epic from Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson, paints a picture of desperately lonely lives in Los Angeles.

Tom Cruise Tom Cruise plays a bitter and twisted womaniser
It features two cancer-ridden, dying fathers coming to terms with the realisation that they have failed their children. Moore plays a gold-digging wife unable to show her love to her husband.

Cruise takes centre stage as an embittered Lothario from a broken home, giving lessons to men on how to sexually conquer and use women.

Critics have drawn comparisons between Anderson's Magnolia and the work of acclaimed film-maker Robert Altman.

The Berlin prize will come as consolation to Anderson, who saw Magnolia miss out on a best movie Oscar nomination. However, Cruise is on the best actor shortlist for his role.

International prestige

The nine-member jury of international cinema industry representatives selected Magnolia from a total of 21 films from 16 countries.

Denzel Washington Denzel Washington wins more praise for The Hurricane
The 12-day festival is in its 50th year and ranks just below Cannes and alongside Venice in prestige on the European film festival circuit, attracting stars from both Hollywood and the international independent cinema to the German capital.

Other titles awarded included the Grand Jury prize - seen as the runner-up to the Golden Bear.

It went to Chinese director Zhang Yimou for The Road Home - a love story set in rural China about a young girl's romance with a village teacher.

Another US achievement came in the shape of actor Denzel Washington. He won the Silver Bear for best actor for his portrayal of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in Norman Jewison's film The Hurricane - for which he has also been nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe.

Silver Bear prizes for best actress went to Germany's Bibiana Beglau and Nadja Uhl for their roles in Rita's Legends, a film about West German terrorists who went underground in communist East Germany during the 1970s.

Bibiana Beglau Bibiana Beglau wins a Silver Bear for Rita's Legends
Czech director Milos Foreman won the Silver Bear for best director for Man on the Moon. Jim Carrey's portrayal of comedian Andy Kaufman starring Jim Carrey was overlooked in last week's Oscar nominations.

The jury also gave a Silver Bear award to Wim Wenders's The Million Dollar Hotel, starring Mel Gibson. Based on an idea from U2 frontman Bono, this murder mystery sees Lethal Weapon star Gibson playing a caricature of his usual action film roles.

Lifetime achievement

Jeanne Moreau, the French actress whose portrayals of femmes fatales scandalised 1950s audiences, was honoured during the festival for a lifetime of achievement in cinema. Robert De Niro was honoured with a retrospective.

Jeanne Moreau Jeanne Moreau is honoured after a lifetime of movie-making
The festival featured hundreds of films alongside the prize contenders. One of these was Mary Harron's adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, starring British actor Christian Bale. The movie about a murderous New York yuppie was shown out of competition.

Danny Boyle's much-hyped The Beach - starring Leonardo DiCaprio - was fighting for recognition, but left the festival empty-handed.

However, the jury's opinion did not to matter to the hordes of screaming DiCaprio fans for whom an appearance from their heart-throb was the highlight of the entire festival.

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See also:
08 Feb 00 |  Entertainment
Berlin reaches for the stars
16 Feb 00 |  Entertainment
Branagh's musical Bard
29 Jan 00 |  Tom Brook
Sundance shines on female talent
08 Jan 00 |  Tom Brook
Denzel's Hurricane stirs controversy

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