Welket Bungué nominee for Best Actor German film award
The film, which premiered at the last Berlin International Film Festival, the Berlinale, has been nominated in 11 categories, including Best Film and Best Director (for Burhan Qurbani).
Bungué was nominated for a Silver Bear in the Best Actor category at the Berlinale and said that he thus expected to receive some attention from the German Film Academy.
“We were very well received at the Berlinale (…) but of course it’s surprising that ‘Berlin Alexanderplatz’ has eleven nominations because very good works were produced in Germany last year”, he told Lusa. “The reactions were very positive, this means a lot for our team.
“They risked a lot by portraying ‘Berlin Alexanderplatz’ [a remake of the 1930s film of the same name] from this new perspective, giving the lead to someone of African origin who enters Europe illegally, and who wants to keep his values in a territory that doesn’t favour him, or doesn’t provide that possibility; on the contrary.”
The Guinea-Bissau-born actor and director has worked in Berlin on and off since 2016, and moved to the German capital in November last year. In Portugal, he made his screen debut more than a decade ago in the television series ‘Ecuador’ and’Morangos com Açucar’.
“There hasn’t been a decisive impact yet that allows me to say that there is one before and one after ‘Berlin Alexanderplatz’,” he confessed. “But having this film in my repertoire will be very relevant, not only for curricular reasons, but also taking into account everything I’ve learned.”
He described the role, which was in both English and German, as a “great challenge” that forced him not only to learn the language but also to “absorb a large part of the culture”, which he said “matured” him on a professional and personal level.
Now his focus is mainly on international cinema, “at least until major opportunities arise on the Portuguese scene,” he explained.
“From Portugal recognition has arrived,” he went on. “In the last year I had short films of my own in two important film festivals: I had ‘Arriaga’ premiering at IndieLisboa and ‘Não Sou Pilatus’ (I’m Not Pilate) premiering at Doclisboa, as the only Portuguese in the international competition.”
Even so, he said, “major invitations” have not yet appeared that offer him the chance to work “in all dimensions” of his artistic talents.
“I’m waiting and confident that this may come in the medium and long term,” he said, adding that he is currently working on completing two short films, ‘Bustgate’ and ‘Peripheral Training’. The former he describes as “an experimental documentary” that is “inspired by the terrible and controversial situation that was the police violence that took place at the beginning of this year, in Amadora [near Lisbon], against the citizen Cláudia Simões” – a reference to a case that made national headlines in Portugal.
“It’s also a tribute to Luís Giovani Rodrigues, the Cabo Verdean student who was brutally beaten at the end of 2019 in Bragança,” Bungué added.
The actor, who spoke to Lusa from Rio de Janeiro, said that he has other projects underway that are being post-produced in Brazil, including ‘Pedro’ (by Laís Bodanzky) and ‘A Matéria Noturna’ (by Bernard Leça).