Most of the movies which are screened at the Berlinale are not available afterwards in Germany*. Therefore I like to go to the Berlin International Film Festival: It brings new impressions and perceptions from all regions of the world I would otherwise hardly get.
Nearly 400 films premiere every year at the Berlinale, with nearly 100 short films. There is no overarching motto; due to this large number of films, every visitor selects his or her own Berlinale. With 15 films over one week, my Berlinale 2015 had several topics. Here is my roundup.
I watched some biographical films on special women: Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Yvonne Rainer, Gertrude Bell. The movie “Je suis Annemarie Schwarzenbach” was interesting to me, not only because of her shimmering personality, but also because of the concept of the movie. The film shows a casting for a (fictional? discarded?) movie on Schwarzenbach. Thus we see several actors each exposing a special perspective on that character. Fascinating.
Two documentaries, “Flotel Europa” and “Hotline” draw attention to the situation of refugees. I subsequently read about the Dublin Regulation, according to which a person seeking asylum needs to apply for it in the EU country where he/she arrived. Thus Malta is burdened with very many asylum applications and Italy tolerates that new arrivals travel unidentified to France and apply for asylum there. I also read about the so-called Anti Infiltration Law in Israel, which in its 2012 version violated UN human rights. Asylum policy is a new topic to me, and an inconvenient one. The German wikipedia article I have started on the Hotline film) was in its early stage listed for deletion, because it is a “niche film” and not “relevant” for the encyclopedia. I hope it will not remain a “niche film”.
Two movies dive into the world of the super-rich: “The Last Summer of the Rich” shows how unrestrained power may lead to loneliness and arbitrariness. And “The Money Complex” was one of my favorite movies this year. It is inspired by Franziska von Reventlow's epistolary novel. I felt relaxed after watching it, I liked the adoration of idleness, and the music in the movie. Here are some youtube links to the songs played, partly different versions though: Ya se que tienes novio, Schubert's Allegretto in D Minor, Schnberg's 6 kleine Klavierstcke Op 19, Zampullin y Somormujo by Jorge Arribas and Diego Galaz, Los Cuatro Muleros by Josephine Foster and the Victor Herrero, and La Golondrina by Ricardo Delgado & Daniel Madero .
Most movies I selected this year had a religious topic: “Story of Judas” (where Judas never betrayed Jesus), “Superworld” (where a joyless monotone life of a check-out clerk undergoes an unexpected turn when she starts hearing god) and “The Voice of Water” (where the front woman of a dubious sect turns from being manipulative into being faithful), All these movies were great, yet “Superworld” with its great panoramas and its touching plot is my favorite out of them.
The secret winner of this Berlinale according to the blogosphere is “Victoria”. It is a movie about love and crime and Berlin, and without a single cut. It was filmed in one shot. I hope it will find a distributor so I get a chance to see it later.
(* This is actually a conjecture. If time permits, I will look for evidence.)