BERLIN: This year at the 68th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival actor Willem Dafoe received the Honourary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement. After navigating a red carpet which was thronged with fans Willem Dafoe received the award from the Berlinale President Dieter Kosslick, who reminded the audience that the actor has already participated in the festival several times, and in 2007 he was a member of the jury. The actor confessed his love for the Berlin Film Festival and stressed that the award for his life’s work does not mean that he is going to retire.
A long queue of fans and press was waiting for the actor to appear and when finally at 21.45 he made his first steps on the red carpet the crowd was raving. Willem Dafoe answered some questions for the reporters and then walked in the Berlinale Palast. When there was no free place left in the cinema hall he was invited to take his sit while everybody was standing and rewarding the honoured actor with stormy applause. After the introduction speech I was excited to see a short clip including almost all Willem Dafoe’s roles in different films what shoved his great talent.
Willem Dafoe’s career began in 1980. Six years later, work on the Oliver Stone’s film Platoon brought Dafoe his first nomination for an Oscar. In 2000 he was again nominated for his role in Edmund Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire. In 2018, he was nominated for the third time for his role in the film Project Florida.
The award ceremony was held on 20 February. It was accompanied by a screening of the Australian film The Hunter ( 2011) with Dafoe in the title role, according to the website of Berlinale.
The Hunter it the story of Martin who is searching for work and signs a contract with a mysterious biotech company and goes to the wild lands of Tasmania. His task is to find an animal, take samples of wool and blood then kill the last Australian Tiger, which has been considered completely extinct for several years already, so that competitors don’t get it.
The film is a thriller about the struggle of man with the eternal forces of nature, family drama and the detective story based on the 1999 novel of the same title by Julia Leigh.
In the first scenes of The Hunter, the naked Willem Dafoe in the bath of the hotel in Paris, with an opera aria, sounding from the iPod, recalls the beginning of the Lars von Trier’s Antichrist. Thanks to Dafoe’s magnificent work, this turns into a mystical story about the total loneliness of a man wandering among the boundless expanse of a pristine countryside and in spite of everything hoping for a successful outcome.
The ten films of the Homage at Berlinale:
Antichrist (Denmark / Germany / France / Sweden / Italy / Poland 2009, Director: Lars von Trier) Auto Focus (USA 2002, Director: Paul Schrader) The Hunter (Australia 2011, Director: Daniel Nettheim) The Last Temptation of Christ (USA / Canada 1988, Director: Martin Scorsese) The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (USA 2004, Director: Wes Anderson) Mississippi Burning (USA 1988, Director: Alan Parker) Pasolini (France / Italy / Belgium 2014, Director: Abel Ferrara) Platoon (USA 1986, Director: Oliver Stone) Shadow of the Vampire (USA / United Kingdom / Luxembourg 2000, Director: E. Elias Merhige) To Live and Die in L.A. (USA 1985, Director: William Friedkin)