Berlin International Film Festival 1956

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The 1956 Berlin International Film Festival took place from June 22 to July 3, 1956.


When the Berlinale premiered in 1951, it had appointed a jury to award the first Golden Bears without the permission of FIAPF . FIAPF forbade this, which is why the Berlinale, since 1952, has determined the winners of the Golden Bears through a public vote. In 1955, FIAPF had decided that the Berlinale would become an A-Festival and be allowed to appoint an international jury.

Nevertheless, the organizers stuck to their public vote and so in 1956 two Golden Bears were awarded, one from the first international jury, one from the audience, which continued to show unbroken enthusiasm. The informal interaction with the film stars gave the Berlinale the image of the “festival of the little man”. However, that changed when it was upgraded to the A-Festival: Barriers were now required in front of the festival venues and the stars could only be waved from a distance.

The decisions of the first international jury were heavily criticized by many commentators. Invitation to the Dance (Invitation to the Dance) by Gene Kelly was too shallow for them the grand prize of an A-festival. The favorite of many critics was the Finnish contribution The Unknown Soldier (Tuntematon Sotilas) by Edin Laine , an anti-war film without illusions based on a novel by Väinö Linna .

Two political actions by festival director Alfred Bauer caused a sensation: by protesting at the Berlin Senate, he prevented the independent showing of DEFA films. (The event was planned by the Berlin Zille Society under the motto of “international understanding” .) To save his reputation as a politically impartial representative of the Berlinale, he had Alain Resnais ' film Nacht und Nebel (Nuit et Brouillard) shown as a special screening . The film documents the crimes of the Germans in the Auschwitz concentration camp and had previously been removed from the festival program in response to an objection by the federal government in Cannes, reason: The film does not serve “international understanding”.

International jury

The French director Marcel Carné was the president of the first international jury at the Berlinale . He chaired the following jury:


The winning film is highlighted in orange.

Movie title Original title Director Country of production Actor (selection)
The blonde witch La sorcière André Michel France , Italy , Sweden Marina Vlady , Nicole Courcel , Maurice Ronet
Invitation to dance Invitation to the Dance Gene Kelly United States Gene Kelly , Diana Adams , Belita
Ernst Reuter Wolfgang Kiepenheuer Germany documentary
... being grown up on the other hand Wolf Hart Germany documentary
Spring in Kashmir Spring Comes to Kashmir Ravi Prakash India documentary
Secrets of the steppe The African Lion James Algar United States documentary
Happy Africa Roman times Les très riches heures de l'Afrique romaine Jean Lehérissey France documentary
Autumn storms Autumn Leaves Robert Aldrich United States Joan Crawford , Cliff Robertson , Vera Miles
The clog maker from the Loire Valley Le sabotier du val de Loire Jacques Demy France documentary
Young love in Rome Donatella Mario Monicelli Italy Elsa Martinelli , Gabriele Ferzetti , Walter Chiari
No place for wild animals Bernhard Grzimek , Michael Grzimek Germany documentary
Kispus Erik Balling Denmark Helle Virkner , Henning Moritzen , Nina Pens Rode
The long arm The long arm Charles Frend Great Britain Jack Hawkins , John Stratton , Dorothy Alison
Love, bread and a thousand kisses Pane, amore e ... Dino Risi Italy Vittorio De Sica , Sophia Loren , Lea Padovani
Mi tío Jacinto Ladislao Vajda Spain , Italy Pablito Calvo , Antonio Vico , José Marco Davó
Covered up with a newspaper The camino de la vida Alfonso Corona Blake Mexico Luis Alba , Guillermo Bravo Sosa , Antonio Brillas
Paris la nuit Jacques Baratier , Jean Valère France documentary
Rhythmetic Evelyn Lambart , Norman McLaren Canada Animation
Richard III Laurence Olivier Great Britain Laurence Olivier , Ralph Richardson , John Gielgud
The sun of the Hittites Hitit Günesi Turkey documentary
Trapezoid Trapezoids Carol Reed United States Burt Lancaster , Tony Curtis , Gina Lollobrigida
The unknown soldier Tuntematon sotilas Edvin Laine Finland Kosti Klemelä , Heikki Savolainen , Reino Tolvanen
Company Arctic Men Against the Arctic Winston Hibler United States documentary
Before sunset Gottfried Reinhardt Germany Hans Albers , Annemarie Düringer , Martin Held
The white snake woman Byaku fujin no yoren Shirô Toyoda Hong Kong , Japan Ryō Ikebe , Shirley Yamaguchi , Kaoru Yachigusa
The long journey The Long Journey United Nations documentary
Magic of nature Richard Mostler Germany documentary

Award winners

Golden bears

  • Jury decision: invitation to dance
  • Audience vote: Before sunset
  • Documentary: No Place for Wild Animals
  • Short film: Paris la nuit

Silver bears

  • International Prize: Richard III.
  • Audience vote : Mi tío Jacinto
  • Honors: The Long Arm and The Blonde Witch (La sorcière)
  • Director: Robert Aldrich for autumn storms (Autumn Leaves)
  • Actor: Burt Lancaster for Trapeze (Trapeze)
  • Actress: Elsa Martinelli for Young Love in Rome (Donatella)
  • Documentary: Secrets of the Steppes (The African Lion)
  • Short film: Rhythmetic
  • Special award for short film: Spring Comes to Kashmir and The Sun of the Hittites (Hitit günesi)

Bronze bears

Large gold plaque

  • No place for wild animals

Large silver plaque

  • Secrets of the Steppes (The African Lion)

Large bronze plaque

  • Magic of nature

Small gold badge

  • Company Arktis (Men Against the Arctic)

Small silver badge

  • Ernst Reuter

Small bronze plaque

  • Happy Africa Roman Times (Les très riches heures de l'Afrique romaine)

Honorable Mention

  • Love, bread and a thousand kisses (Pane, amore e ...) "for the best humorous film"
  • Covered with a newspaper (El camino de la vida) "for the best director"
  • The White Snake Woman (Byaku fujin no yoren) "for the use of color"
  • Short film: … being grown up, however, The Long Journey and Der Holzschuhmacher vom Loire Valley (Le sabotier du val de Loire)

OCIC award

  • The Unknown Soldier (Tuntematon sotilas)
  • Special mention: Covered with a newspaper (El camino de la vida)

Sources and web links