The Berlin Film Festival has awarded its top prize, theGolden Bear, to Patrice Chereau's sexually explicit Intimacy based on one of Hanif Kureishi'ssemi-autobiographical short stories. One of the film's courageous leads,Kerry Fox, also took home the Silver Bear for best actress.

Living up to the pre-festival promise from jury president(and ousted Fox studio chief) Bill Mechanic to honour international films whosedaring stand in contrast to Hollywood safety-first mentality, Berlin singledout an audacious film that has yet to find a North American distributor.

Marking Chereau's English-language debut, and set in aseedy London where the two lead characters played by Fox and Mark Rylanceengage in a long series of graphically portrayed rough sexual encounters, Intimacy divided audiences at this year's Sundance FilmFestival. Despite protestations from Chereau himself that this film was muchmore than a sex film, an NC-17 rating seems a virtual certainty should the filmbe picked up by a US distributor looking to stir up the same kind of provocationas Catherine Breillat's Romance. (Breillat, as it happens, also won a prize, a DM 30,000 cash awardfor her latest film Fat Girl)

In our own review, Screen International described the StudioCanal-financed Intimacyas 'a stunningly-made film thatexplores the mysteries of sexual desire in a dauntless way.'

Intimacy beat out astrong field that also included Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-nominated Traffic, which walked away with a Silver Bear for BenicioDel Toro's acting performance. Other winners included Taiwan's LingCheng-sheng, who was awarded the Silver Bear for best director for his Chinese-Taiwaneseco-production Betelnut Beauty.

The Grand Jury prize went to Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai'sBeijing Bicycle and another Silver Bearwas awarded to Lone Scherfig's Italian For Beginners, the popular product of Denmark's Dogma schoolof no-frills filmmaking that was grabbed during the festival by Miramax Films fordistribution in the US, Mexico and English-speaking Canada.


Golden Bear:
Intimacy (Patrice Chereau)France/UK

Silver Bear, Grand Jury Prize:
Beijing Bicycle (WangXiaoshuai) China

Silver Bear:
Italian For Beginners (LoneScherfig) Denmark

Silver Bear for Best Director:
Lin Cheng-Sheng (Betelnut Beauty)Taiwan/China

Silver Bear for Best Actress:
Kerry Fox (Intimacy)France/UK'

Silver Bear for Best Actor:
Benicio Del Toro (Traffic)US

The Blue Angel for Best European Film:
Patrice Chereau (Intimacy)France/UK

Silver Bear for Individual Achievement:
Cinematographer, Raul Perez Cubero (You'reThe One) Spain

The Alfred-Bauer Prize for a First Film:
La Cienaga (Lucrecia Martel)Argentina/Spain

Golden Bear for Best Short Film:
Black Soul (MartineChartrand) Canada)

Silver Bear for Short Film:
Jungle Jazz: Public Enemy (FrankFitzpatrick) USA

Wolfgang Staudte Prize For Best Film in The Forum:
Love/Juice (Kaze Shindo) Japan)

The Ecumenical Prizes:
Competition: Italian For Beginners (LoneScherfig) Denmark
Panorama: Blue End (Kaspar Kasics)Switzerland
Forum: The New Country (GeirHansteen Jörgensen) Sweden

Competition: Italian For Beginners (LoneScherfig) Denmark
Panorama: Maelström ( Denis Villeneuve) Canada
Forum: Danach Hätte Es Schön Sein Müssen (Karin Jurschick) Germany

Best Children's Film:
Nagisa (Masaru Konuma) Japan

The German Film Guild Prize:
Finding Forrester (Gus Van Sant) USA

The German International Film Union Prize:
Late Night Shopping (Saul Metzstein) UK

Peace Prize:
Vivre Apres - Paroles Des Femmes(Laurent Becue-Renard) France

'Teddy' for Best Gay or Lesbian Film:
Hedwig And The Angry Inch (JohnCameron Mitchell)

Special Teddy:
Moritz de Hadeln

Manfred-Salzgeber Film Prize (Dm 30,000):
A Ma Soeur! (Catherine Breillat) France