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60 Years of Berlinale - A Retrospective


Play it again ...! : 60 Years of Berlinale - A Retrospective


Playit again ...!

60 Years of Berlinale - A Retrospective


In 1960, afilm was screened in theCompetitionof the Berlin International Film Festival that defied all filmic conventions anddumbfounded the critics.A bout desouffle(Breathless, France1959/60) not only marks young Godard's international breakthrough but inretrospect also the arrival of the nouvelle vague, one of the most extraordinarymilestones in the history of the festival. On an excursion through the 60 yearsof the Berlinale, theRetrospectivePLAY IT AGAIN ...! will bring discoveries of the past back to the big screenand spotlight a number of films exemplary for the festival's development: fromthe first decades, which were overshadowed by the Cold War; and the festival'sopening up to films from socialist countries; to the end of Europe's politicaldivision, which some 20 years ago released the festival from its balancing actbetween cultural openness and political pressures. In the 1980s and 1990s, theBerlinale was able to establish itself as a platform for Eastern European andAsian cinema; in more recent years, it has increasingly succeeded in placingGerman films on equal footing with international productions.


TheRetrospectivewill showcase thefestival's diversity with some 40 films from theCompetition,Forum,Panorama,andGenerationsections. The renownedBritish film critic David Thomson has put together the programme: "A festivallike the Berlinaledemonstrates how thecontroversial films of yesterday have become the classics of today.Alongside these films, I have included works that may even surprise or outrageaudiences today - I am looking forward to stimulating discussions inBerlin," the curator, who lives in theUSA, remarks onhis selection.Rarities from the festival'spioneering days, such as Curzio Malaparte'sIl Cristo proibito(The Forbidden Christ, Italy 1950/51),Alf Sjöberg'sFröken Julie(Miss Julie, Sweden 1950/51), and AkiraKurosawa'sIkiru(To Live, Japan 1952) stand in contrastto more recent films, such asNiels ArdenOplev'sDrømmen(We ShallOvercome, Denmark/Great Britain 2005/06), a gripping father-son story notonly for the younger generation, andPaul Thomas Anderson'sMagnolia(USA 1999), which won theGolden Berlin Bear in 2000. "We wanted an outside perspective: Which filmsrepresent festival history for connoisseur of film David Thomson? Which filmsdoes he see as having been formative? His selection offers a fascinating glimpseinto film history," says Berlinale Director DieterKosslick.


"Exceptionallycontroversial were films that for political or aesthetic reasons upset thefestival's routine, and have thus remained strongly imprinted on our minds,"adds Rainer Rother, Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kinemathek and Head of theRetrospective.


Forexample, in 1976, Nagisa Oshima'sAi nocorrida(In the Realm of theSenses, Japan/France 1975/76) caused a huge stir: after the first screening,the film print was confiscated by the district attorney's office, and chargeswere filed against the Director of theInternational Forum of New Cinema,Ulrich Gregor, for "disseminating pornography". Then, in 1979 Michael Cimino'santi-war dramaThe Deer Hunter(USA1978) created an uproar. When,despite Soviet protest, the film was shown in theCompetition, several socialist countrieswithdrew their films from the programme and ordered their delegations home.

DavidThomson's selection also showcases European auteur cinema,such as Werner Herzog's feature-filmdebutLebenszeichen(Signs of Life, FRG1967/68)and Alain Tanner's subtle, melancholyfilmDansla ville blanche(In the White City, Switzerland/Poland1982/83), as well as cinematic gems from Asia, such as Zhang Yimou'sHong gaoliang(Red Sorghum,1987/88). With the GoldenBerlin Bear in 1988, the latter was the first film from the People's Republic ofChinato win a major award at aninternational festival. In mid-January 2010, the complete film programme of PLAYIT AGAIN ...! will be available at


The filmsof theRetrospectivewill be screenedin the CinemaxX at Potsdamer Platz and the Zeughauskino. A series of events inthe Deutsche Kinemathek will accompany the film programme. With an introductoryessay by David Thomson and many photos, the book for theRetrospectivewill be published in abilingual edition (German/English) in the series "FilmHeft" by theBerlinpublishing houseBertz + Fischer. One section of the book will extensively document the filmsthat are to be screened by presenting detailed filmographic information andcontemporary reviews. The Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen isresponsible for both theRetrospectiveand thepublication.

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