Touch Me Not: Romania’s explicit take on sex, fear and intimacy wins top prize in Berlin

Touch Me Not: Romania’s explicit take on sex, fear and intimacy wins top prize in Berlin
Laura Benson in Touch Me Not. Image: Manekino Film

26 February 2018

An experimental Romanian film exploring the fear of sexual intimacy has won this year’s top prize at the Berlin film festival.

Director Adina Pintilie picked up the award for her explicit debut feature Touch Me Not, just moments after winning the 2018 GWFF Award for Best First Feature.

The film centres on middle-aged actress Laura and her attempts to come to terms with her deep-seated fear of intimacy by meeting a host of different sex workers.

Moving in and out of shot, Pintilie blurs fiction and reality by shattering the fourth wall, a constant reminder of the audience’s own implicit voyeurism. Speaking at the Berlinale news conference, Pintilie said that she wanted to challenge audiences to embrace their own “otherness”.

Touch Me Not was produced by Manekino Film with Czech firm Pink Productions and Bulgaria’s Agitprop, as well as Les Films de l’Étranger and Rohfilm Productions.

Poland’s Malgorzata Szumowska was also honoured for her film Mug: a story exploring modern day identity by following Jacuk, a builder who undergoes a face transplant after a work place accident.