The Berlin Film Festival's main competition ends on Saturday at a Hollywood-style gala ceremony where the Berlinale's top awards are to be handed out.

A batch of movies has emerged as frontrunners among the films battling it out for the Berlinale's coveted Golden Bear for Best Picture.

This includes a documentary from Italian director Gianfranco Rosi's Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea), which was part of a series of films screened at the Berlinale that focused on the plight of migrants around the world.

The other documentary in the main competition is Zero Days from Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, which shows the emergence of a new type of warfare, cyberwar.

A win for Rosi or Gibney on Saturday night would represent the first time that a documentary has been awarded a Golden Bear in the Berlinale's 66-year history.

A seven-member jury headed by three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep has to select from the 18 films, which formed this year's main competition, when handing out the Berlinale's prestigious prizes at Saturday's award ceremony.

In addition to the festival's Golden Bear, the jury also has to hand out awards for best acting performances, prizes for best director as well as best screenplay and cinematography.

Another one of the film critics' favourites for this year's awards was a romantic drama, Hedi, from Tunis-born director Mohamed Ben Attia about a young man torn between a traditional and a modern way of life.

US director Jeff Nichols' science-fiction thriller Midnight Special also won plaudits from festivalgoers.

The festival also included several strong acting performances.

Leading French actress Isabelle Huppert was absorbing in her role as a woman facing up to onset of old age after the shock breakup of her marriage in French director Mia Hansen-Love's fifth feature L'avenir (Things to Come).

The other French film in the race for this year's Golden Bear was Quand on a 17 ans (Being 17) from veteran director Andre Techine, who has a film career dating back to the 1960s.

One of the stars of the film, French actress Sandrine Kiberlain, was seen by festivalgoers as also one of the many commendable female acting performances in the Berlinale.

Oscar-winner Colin Firth was also praised by critics in Berlin for his role as the legendary New York literary agent Maxwell Perkins in British director Michael Grandage's Genius.

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