Irish-language film An Cailín Ciúin wins at Berlin International Film Festival

Irish-language film An Cailín Ciúin wins at Berlin International Film Festival

IRISH FILM An Cailín Ciúin has won a prestigious award at the Berlin Film Festival, making history as both the first Irish-language film to be be showcased and win at the awards.

The film, written and directed by Colm Bairéad and based on the short story by Claire Keegan, won the Grand Prix of the Generation Plus International Jury for the Best Film, having premiered at the festival earlier in the month.

The film tells the story of a girl's summer with a foster couple away from her dysfunctional family in 1980s Ireland.

"As many films in this year's Generation Plus competition, the winning film deals with the hardships of family life," the jury said about this film.

"It is a film with a delicate story full of details about childhood, grief, parenthood and rebuilding a family. The very strong narrative is combine with a stunning cinematography. The sound and the images create a unique atmosphere."

For having won the prize, the film's creators will receive €7,500.

The film also received a special mention from the children's jury, praising the performance from protagonist Catherine Clinch as one which "truly impressed" them.

"A beautiful film led us into an emotional, natural world full of love. The profoundly explored feelings were accompanied by sensitive music."

The film will release in cinemas later this year, and will premier at the Dublin International Film Festival on 23 February.

The film is the work of director-producer husband-and-wife team Colm Bairéad and Cleona Ní Chrualaoí of Inscéal productions.

It was financed through Cine4, the Irish feature-film initiative promoting indigenous cinema in the Irish language that is backed by Screen Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and TG4.

The best overall film at this year's festival was Alcarràs, a film about a Catalan farming family facing eviction from their land.

A lifetime achievement award went to Isabelle Huppert, who also starred in an Irish co-production, About Joan, that was screening out of competition at the festival.

That film, about a French woman with a past life in Ireland, is the second feature from writer-director Laurent Larivière.

The festival was the first major European film festival of the year and saw a return to on-site screenings for the first time for the festival since the pandemic began.

Over 250 films were screened, down one-quarter on previous years.