Of all the big festivals typifies the Berlinale itself as the most daring. That also seems to now be the case, with a dual focus on “the woman” (her large absence from most of the festivals and the current #MeToo-rage) and “the politics”, and the guarantee of the organizers of the “diverse” range. Between Thursday and next week Saturday, when the Golden and Silver Bears are awarded, will be more than 400 films are screened, of which 19 are in the official selection. For festival director Dieter Kosslick, this edition of the film festival in the German capital, also his last. The festival “reflects a sense of unease in the world,” said Kosslick.
One of the highlights in the “political offer” is in any case ‘Utoya 22 july the Norwegian director Erik Poppe. The film has as its theme the terrorist attack of the extreme right-wing Anders Behring Brevik, who on 22 July 2011, 77 people killed in Oslo and on the island of Utoya. Poppe zooms in to Breivik, but brings the story of the atrocity from the perspective of the victims. The Berlinale also this year again a lot of space to films about migrants and refugees, and the parallel between the current vluchtelingengolf and that caused by the nazis in the ’40s.
#MeToo sorted all of its effect: four of the nineteen competition films have a female director: ‘Figlia Mia’ (Daughter of Mine) was directed by the Italian Laura Bispuri, ‘Twarz’ (‘Mosquito’) by the Polish Malgorzata Szumowska, “Drei Tage in Quiberon’ by the German-French-Iranian Emily Atef and ‘Touch me not’, is presented as a hybrid study of human intimacy, by the Romanian Adina Pintilie.
The acting will also be especially to women to be looked at, with Isabelle Huppert in the role of Eva. In the film she plays a femme fatale who is the life of a promising writer upside down. In the allegedly Hitchcockiaanse ‘Unsane’ by Steven Soderbergh (not in official selection), rotated with iPhonebeelden, steals Claire Foy the show as a woman who against her will in psychiatry is dumped. And in the biopic “Becoming Astrid’ we come a lot, if not everything, to know about the difficult childhood of successchrijfster Astrid Lindgren. If still insufficient #MeToo prove: there is also a forum organised under the title ‘No to Discrimination’.
Also the Music is well represented, with four films of German soil, including the newest work by the ever-political themes grafted Christian Petzold (‘Transit’). The prize for the longest title goes to the German Philip Groening, who ‘Mein Bruder heisst Robert und there ist ein Idiot (My brother is called Robert and he is an idiot) is shown; that of the longest is, of course, to the Filipino veelfilmer Lav Diaz, whose ‘Season of the Devil’, an anti-musicalmusical, for are do, however, quite short: 234 minutes.
The American presence remains limited to three movies, but it looks very interesting with the youngest of cult filmmaker Gus Van Sant (‘Don’t worry, he won’t get far on foot’) and the already much talked about animated film ‘Isle of Dogs’ by Wes Anderson, with the voices of Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum and Greta Gerwig. ‘Isle of Dogs’ opens Thursday the festivities. The third American contender, ‘Damsel’, is a tragi-comic “feminist” western directed by the broederduo David and Nathan Zellner, and has Robert Pattison and Mia Wasikowska in the leading roles. The relatively limited Hollywoodaanwezigheid in Berlin is partly due to #MeToo: director Kosslick deleted several movies from the offer which the filmmaker, an actor, or a producer in the maelstrom of blame of sexual abuse.
Other well-known names in the offer are the Russian Alexey German junior (‘Dovlatov’), the French Benoit Jacquot (‘Eva’) and Cédric Kahn (“La Prière”), and the Iranian Mani Haghighi (‘Khook’/Pig).
Little Hollywood on the white screen, but good enough on the red carpet. So will, among others, Robert Pattinson, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jeff Daniels, Tilda Swinton, Peter Sarsgaard, Joaquin Phoenix, Isabelle Huppert, Bill Murray and Emily Watson the Berlinale with their presence and worship.
The prices are this year, awarded by a six-man jury, under the leadership of the German film-maker Tom Tykwer. Now, certainly from a price is Willem Dafoe, as possible “oscar” Italian for ‘The Florida project’, which in the bears is set for his life’s work.