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The 70th Berlinale International Film Festival will be held from February 20 to March 1, 2020.
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   PHOTOS

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Berlinale 2019 - Goodbye Dieter Preview By Alex Deleon

By Alex Deleon for <>




The 69th edition of the Berlin Film Festival will be the last one under the auspices of director Dieter Kosslick, who has run the event since 2002 with a certain flamboyance and an occasional flub. 

Inevitably seen in the company of the big Hollywood stars while sporting various floppy hats Kosslick has been accused of catering too much to the Hollywood mainstream at the expense of the festival's long established emphasis on art and intellectual fare during his eighteen year reign,  yet he has definitely transformed the festival into one the world's most important cinema events.  In addition to being the world's largest public film festival selling nearly half a million tickets per year to ordinary film fans Berlin also hosts the European Film Market (EFM) the world's second-largest film market which is, In effect, a parallel film festival on its own. 

Aside from this Berlin continues to screen many art films from around the world in its Panorama and Forum sections, with a a strong political flavor always in the air.

This year the emphasis will be on the feminine side of filmmaking with no less than seven of the 17 titles in competition by female directors.  Among them are two regular Kosslick favorites, Agnieszka Holland of Poland and Isabel Coixet from Spain who is back this year with Elisa & Marcela, a black-and-white period drama about the first lesbian couple to get legally married in Spain.  Apart from the subject matter, the fact that the film was backed by Netflix has attracted attention in Berlin. Elisa & Marcela will be the firsts Netflix film ever to screened in competition at the Berlinale. 

As the debate over TV streaming versus big screen projection heats up Kosslick's sanguine view is as follows: "This question of streaming is one that has just started but I'm convinced that cinema will stay, streaming notwithstanding. Despite opinions to the contrary, I think that film festivals will become more, not less, important in the future and that there will be a coexistence between the festivals and the streamers."


The panorama section dedicated to alternate and independent cinema from around the world, now in its Fortieth year, will present a selection of significant films reflecting "the soul" of this section over this period of time in question, selected by founder and former Panorama curator Wieland Speck.


The festival opener will be The Kindness of Strangers, by Danish femme director Lone Schefrig,( born 1959).  Described as "The story of four people suffering through the worst crises of their lives" we can only hope this will not set the tone for the length of entire festival.

Turkish-German ace helmer Fatih Akin will present his latest work, Der Goldene Handschuh, (The Golden Glove), the story of a serial killer active in Akin's native Hamburg in the seventies. Oddly enough Fatih has not been at Berlin often since his Golden Bear winner Gegen dir Wand, in 2004, preferring Cannes and Venice in recent years.

Two German ladies round out a strong German presence in the competition lineup.  

Angela Schanelec makes her debut with "Ich war zuhause, aber" (I was home but) and  Nora Fingscheidt’s first feature, "Systen Crasher" is a film about a child:  "On her wild quest for love, 9-year-old Benni's untamed energy drives everyone around her to despair".

French veteran François Ozon will present "Grâce à Dieu"  about three childhood  friends who meet and discuss their experiences.

Norwegian Hans Petter Moland is back following his spectacular black comedy  "In Order of Disappearance", which should have won a Bear in 2014, now with a new film, "Out Stealing Horses" which will be his fourth shot at the Golden Bär top prize.  Maybe he'll make it this time around. 

Three Chinese entries are on the agenda topped by China's leading filmmaker Zhang Yimou's "One Second" (Yi miao zhong).

Zhang took home a Golden Bär for his very first feature "Red Sorghum" in 1988,

 Films from Austria, Turkey, and Israel fill out  the competition lineup.

Iconic French actress Juliette Binoche will head the international competition jury.

 And this  is just scratching the surface of some 400 films to choose from in numerous other categories.  The vast Berlin offerings give new meaning to the bromide "Something for every taste".

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Berlin 2019: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Lindsay Bellinger and Bruno Chatelin...
Ambiance, film reviews, trailers and podcasts, EFM insider information, and much more.
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