Berlinale Has Numbing Effect On Audiences This Year, Too

It numbs them with its politics. And its smugness. Intentionally so. Every year. And if you don’t have the “correct” kind of politics and smugness, it will numb you all the more.

Numb

The opening night of the Berlinale was all about politics, from the red carpet, where Green Party politician and Bundestag vice president Claudia Roth sported a black dress adorned with the word “Unpresidented” in large letters – an apparent dig at U.S. President Donald Trump’s spelling aptitude and/or his perceived behavior as commander-in-chief – to officials and speakers taking the stage to talk about free speech, free art and resistance to oppression.

“It’s kind of an antidote to massive budget films with millions of special effects and stuff, which in the end creates a kind of numbing effect: I want more, I want more, I want more.”

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That Photo Says It All

Berlinale

About this year’s Berlin Film Festival, I mean. Or Berlinale, if your prefer.

A dud line-up… A competition film lasting eight hours… The Berlin competition DOES tend to be serious… Misguided inclusions… Films about German characters played by English actors who speak in English but with German accents… Meryl Streep… Disappointment… Acute no-frills psychological realism… An extraordinary docudrama of sorts… More Meryl Streep… More Disappointment… George Clooney.”

Ya’ll come back now next year! Ya hear?

 

Michael Moore Moved By German Kindness

But only about a centimeter or two.

Michael Moore

He’s a really big guy, see?

In a special wide-screen video appearance made especially for this year’s crappy Berlin Film Festival (Moore’s own latest crappy film, “Who to Offend Next,” oops, I mean “Where to Invade Next” is being shown here but he unfortunately cannot attend due to pneumonia and being a really, honking hefty dude, like I said) the annoying loudmouth commended Germany for its “kindness towards refugees, which has moved me and millions of Americans.” But, hey. Somebody’s got to do it, I guess.

Wanna see an even better Michael Moore video? When he was skinny, I mean?

Eure Großzügigkeit und Güte gegenüber Flüchtlingen haben mich und Millionen Amerikaner bewegt. Und ich weiß, es gibt Probleme.

Meryl Streep Wants More Inclusion

As Berlin Film Festival Jury head, that is. In industry and politics, I mean. And the Berlinale is just the place to, uh, want that kind of thing, or something.

Meryl Streep

You know, more women, more people of non-white color, more transgender cats and dogs, more environmentally friendly refrigerators, stuff like that needs more inclusion. Who would disagree? Who even could? And we’re talking inclusion as in diversity here, people. NOT assimilation.

Sadly, things that are definitely not included in the inclusion here – here at the Berlin Film Festival, I mean, the Berlinale, that is, the reason why this lady from Hollywood is here in the first place – are films that anybody/anything in his/her/its right mind might ever possibly want to see.

“The thing I’ve noticed from my different roles is there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture. And, after all, we’re all from Africa, originally. We’re all Berliners. We’re all Africans, really.”

And That Little Girl’s Not Wearing Her Head-Thingy, Either

Officially banned from filmmaking in Iran since 2010, Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s third film since then, Taxi, just won the Golden Bear at the 65th Berlin Film Festival.

Taxi

Iranian creative folks still officially allowed to work in Iran are now petitioning their government to officially ban their work, too. Unfortunately, however, the head Islamically-correct-artistic-expression-mullah-what’s-in-charge said nichts da (nothing doing) when reached for comment, as “official bans like ours don’t just grow on trees, you know. And besides, if we officially banned everything then our official bans would not be nearly as effective as they have been up until now. And that’s official,” the official said.

“Limitations often inspire filmmakers to storytellers to make better work.”

North Korea Demands Film Not Being Shown At Film Festival Not Be Shown At Film Festival

And when North Korea demands something, the Berlinale listens.

Interview

Organizers here quickly buckled under pressure and have now sheepishly agreed to take the film not being shown on their program off their program immediately. The wussies.

Somewhere along the line, because of the February 5th start dates, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry misinterpreted that The Interview was an official entrant in the 65th annual Berlinale. As a result, North Korean’s state-run broadcast issued a statement demanding that the film not screen at the festival, which it’s not and never was scheduled to. An organizer for the film festival spoke to the North Korean ambassador to Germany to clear up the misunderstanding.

Chinese And Eastern European Spy Attacks Boring Spiegel Readers To Tears

1) Chinese intelligence agencies have apparently carried out a spy attack on the federal government of Germany. Yawn.

China

2) Some 16 million email addresses and passwords of 600 government employees at every German ministry have been taken in a massive data theft operation. The attack was carried out by eastern European criminals, according to Der Spiegel. Snooze.

When asked for more detailed information, a German government spokesman replied “More detailed information. Of what? Like who cares? It’s not as if these attacks were carried out by the NSA or anything.”

Researchers declined to speculate about the possible origin of the malware, but noted that none of the victims were from China.

PS: As for this year’s Berlinale, hmmm. The Chinese just won the Golden Bear for best film this year, too. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Some long-established film festivals, such as Cannes and Venice, can legitimately claim to be timeless. Berlin, however, seems to be stuck in the past, and not only because the event somewhat coasts on its bygone reputation as a festival of discovery…

The Berlinale’s 64th edition was the most lukewarm in years. You don’t usually expect swoons and scandals here, but you do hope that every year’s competition will bring one major discovery, or at least an unassuming gem that everyone falls in love with. There was one universally adored film in competition – but it doesn’t quite count as a Berlin revelation, as it came straight from wowing Sundance…

Berlin always provides its share of A-list red-carpet promenades – this year, by the likes of George Clooney, Bill Murray and Uma Thurman – yet these never quite disguise the festival’s essential earnestness…

Otherwise, I suspect that Berlin 2014 will be best remembered for its major innovation – the addition of a pop-up line of gourmet food wagons. Festival-goers will turn up undeterred again next year – but many of them will be doing it less for the films than for this Berlinale’s real discovery, the pulled pork baps.

Kool Klips

In this here Berlinale article, I mean.

Berlinale

And this is mainly because none of these clips have been taken from any of the films that are being shown here at the Berlinale this year.

You know it’s Berlinale time when coffee has been spilled all over the benches in the Sony Center early in the morning already.

Du weißt, es ist Berlinale, wenn… Dir irgendjemand nach Ende des letzten Berlinale-Tages erzählt, dass er es jetzt schon kaum erwarten kann, wenn das Filmfestival nächsten Winter wieder in die Stadt kommt.

Shia LaBeouf Now No Longer Famous

And all it took was a short visit to the Berlinale in Berlin.

Shia

He certainly knew what he was doing. The films that they play here are no longer famous, either.

Dieser Eintrag im Berlinaleblog ist nicht leicht gefallen. Denn er wird genau das bewirken, was der Autor eigentlich kritisieren will: Dass es in der modernen Mediengesellschaft eine wirkungsvolle Strategie ist, durch Pöbeln und Rüpeln Aufmerksamkeit zu erzeugen.

And The Losers Are…

This year’s Berlinale Golden Bear goes to the Rumanian film “Child’s Pose,” a heart-warming family drama about a domineering upper class Rumanian mother’s attempt to bribe freedom for her ungrateful creep of a loser son after he kills a child from a poor family in a traffic accident.

Berlinale

The Jury Grand Prize Silver Bear goes to the uplifting and inspirational Bosnian docudrama “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” which re-creates the institutional abuse and neglect of a Roma family that has to collect scrap metal to survive (but at least now they’ve got the Silver Bear).

And the Gay/Lesbian Teddy went to several films (they were all that good this year, I guess), the most interesting sounding one being a flick called “Undress Me,” this being an allegory or metaphor for, uh, I dunno, something.

Actually, the only film I would have really been interested in seeing was the one that got the the Silver Bear for best script. It was an Iranian movie called “Pardé” (Closed Curtain). However the filmmaker, Jafar Panahi, could not take part in the intoxicating Berlin celebrations because he lives behind said closed curtain and has been prohibited by Iranian authorities from travelling, for some strange reason.

“It’s never been possible to stop a thinker and a poet.”