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Reporting from Berlin on the 68th edition February 15 -25, 2018
Our team of festival ambassadors and reporters bring you the dailies from the Berlin Film Festival and European Film Market and keep an eye on past editions archives. WATCH OUR VIDEO COVERAGE TRAILERS INTERVIEWS AND AMBIANCE

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69th Berlin Film Festival/Overview

by Alex Deleon, <>



Looking back over the recently completed 69th installment of the Berlin Film Festival I must say it was one of the best in recent memory. The weather, as to be expected in February in Berlin, was bad -- freezing, then rainy --  but this is good for staying inside to watch films.  The social scene was as lively as ever, especially with the Golden Bear Lounge next to the press conference room to hop in and out of between screenings --

the perfect place for quick meetings with old friends.

As for the selection of films, with over 300 entries to choose from in a diversity of sidebars, Panorama, Forum, Retrospectives, etc.

the Berlinale is something like playing the lottery. Aside from a few "old reliables" -- directors and actors whose work you know -- much of the selection is from unknowns and remote corners of the world. I did manage to see eleven of the eighteen films in competition and a total of 27 films in nine days, plus a number of interesting press conferences, always a highlight of the Berlin week.

To start with, the opening film, Django, about the famed mid-century gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt, was a memorable landmark with an incredible performance by French actor Reda Kateb.  Most competition films, however, were about bad personal relationships and an ordeal to sit through. What ever happened to films about good relationships? -- They are obviously not favored by the climate of the times. Fortunately there is no law that says you have to sit through a "feel bad" film to the bitter end and so half a dozen psychological ordeal films resulted in an early walkout. The comp films were about evenly divided between ordeals and nonordeals. The winning film, Ildiko Eniko's Hungarian entry, "About Body and Soul" was a delight, and two other films interesting purely from an ethnic standpoint: "Felicité" set in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo and spoken in the Lingala language, and "One Thousand Ropes" set in a Samoan ghetto in New Zealand, probably the first film ever spoken in Samoan. Both were however personal Ordeal films. 

Among highlights, memorable films outside of the competition section were the following:

"The Kings Choice",  a WW II  historic drama from Norway about King Hakon's difficult decision not to cave in to the invading Germans; "Viceroy House", also an historical drama set in 1947 and showing the brutal partition of India from the British point of view; "The World on a Wire" a little known 1974 made for TV scifi fantasy drama by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, similar to The Matrix, but preceding it by ten years -- a true mind bender; Agnieska Holland's Polish drama "Spoor" calling for an end to the slaughter of wildlife, with an older woman as the central figure; The French pas-de-deux "Midwife" (Sage-Femme) involving French stars Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot, as an alienated mother- daughter reconciling -- Among the retrospectives; The classic Hollywood "War of the Worlds" 1953, with marvelous special effects by Hungarian FX master George Pal, long before the age of artificial computer illusions; finally  Francis Coppola's unique Gangster Musical, "The Cotton Club" of 1974. 

What it came down to was at least one memorable film every day,  topped off on the very last day by Finnish master of laconic celluloid wit, Aki Kaurismäki's latest, "The Other Side of Hope" which takes a non-judgemental but highly incisive look at Muslim immigration in Finland, a very hot issue these days in Germany. Kaurismäkis press conference was one of the high points of the Berlin week and, true to form since he is known as a heavy drinker, Aki was too loaded to take the stage to accept his Best Director Silver Bear award on closing night -- a perfect windup to an excellent film festival.


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About Berlin

Chatelin Bruno

Berlin 2016: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Ole Schulz Lia Fietz, Aida Amasuno Martin, Martin Petrov and Bruno Chatelin...
Ambiance, film reviews, trailers and podcasts, EFM insider information, and much more.
Feel free to leave us your comments and share the blogs with more fans from the festivals scene.


October 30, 2015 Deadline for film entries for the festival (feature length films)
November 17, 2015 Deadline for film entries for the festival (short films)
January 6, 2016 Application deadline for accreditations
February 2, 2016 Programme Press Conference at the "Federal Press and Information Office"; access with invitation only
February 11, 2016 Opening Ceremony of the
66th Berlin International Film Festival
February 11-19, 2016 European Film Market
February 13-18, 2016 Berlinale Talents
February 14-16, 2016 Berlinale Co-Production Market
February 20, 2016 Closing & Award Ceremony of the
66th Berlin International Film Festival
February 21, 2016 Berlinale Publikumstag




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