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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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You Can't tell book by its cover or a film by its title.

By Alex Deleon

Tais-toi et sois belle ~ Shut up and look pretty, viewed on Awards night at Kino Arsenal 1. Not to be confused with a 1958 French feature film of the same name, which, in fact had me confused enough not to check up on what I was about to see and therefore stumble into a siege of boredom.
In this talking heads documentary made by French actress Delphine Seyrig, famous  actresses talk about their roles in the male dominated movie industry, and the implicit requirement to "be beautiful and shut up".
I thought this would be a typical French comedy but it turned out to be something else altogether,  a series of interviews focusing on famous movie stars talking about the insipidness of the roles being written for women by men up till that time. 1975, 76.  All this has now changed immensely so this is of historical importance only, showing how things used to be in the film industry and how hard it was back then for an actress to get a meaningful role. Also how some famous actress looked  43 years ago.

Made almost like a home movie not very sharply photographed, it got to be very repetitious and boring after a while,  while trying to figure out who was who. Only the last segment with Jane Fonda speaking very good French, was really interesting.  But she did have to ask interviewer Seyrig what the French word for "alienation" is.  Answer, "alienation" -- with the accent in the Last syllable!

Others who appeared;

Ellen Burstyn, Shirley Maclaine, Jenny Agutter. (Walkabout, 1971)
Louise Fletcher (One flew over the cuckoo's nest), Millie Perkins (Anne Frank, 1959) and many others. A good French lesson, if nothing else.

Seyrig also appeared as an actress in a most boring German film entitled "Dorian Gray, in the Mirror of the Boulevard Press", 1984, directed by Ulrike Ottinger, now 76, who personally  introduced the film, shown in the restored retrospectives section. Plotless and amorphous with a woman,  Veruschka von Lehndorff, playing a very pretty cross dressing version of Dorian Gray which has just about nothing to do with the famous character created by Oscar Wilde.

The intriguing gothic tale has been filmed many times, most notably an acclaimed Hollywood version The Picture of Dorian Gray, in 1945. I was attracted by the title alone and also by the Seyrig name, a favorite actress, but quickly lost interest in this mess of a picture which wasted Seyrig's talent shamelessly and resulted  in a midpoint walkout.  Director Ottinger is primarily a painter and this was clearly meant as a flashy piece of avant-garde fantasy but it flailed about like a ship without a rudder or a movie without a director. Total waste of time. But maybe of some vague interest to Germans who recall the era and its references. 


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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...
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