Who Would Have Thought That Possible?

That the film guru in charge of the Berlin Film Festival’s propaganda efforts from 1951 until 1976 was also closely involved with the Nazis’ film propaganda efforts, I mean.

Nazi

Ex-Nazis in Germany? In the 1950s? How could that be possible?

Will the horrors never cease? First all the crappy movies. Now we find out that the whole shebang is Nazi-verseucht (infected). Let’s call the whole thing off.

The Berlin Film Festival turns 70 this year, but plans for the anniversary celebration have been overshadowed by new revelations that Alfred Bauer, Berlin’s first festival director, had deep ties to the Nazis.

33% More Women Directors?

Fine with me. Just as long as they can ensure that 97% of the movies shown at the Berlinale remain as crappy as they’ve always been.

Women

This morning’s Berlinale Competition line-up announcement featured 33% films (six of 18) with women directors, including one project, DAU. Natasha, which is co-directed by a man and a woman (Ilya Khrzhanovskiy and Jekaterina Oertel).

That’s a drop on last year’s percentage of 41%, when seven of 17 pics selected were from female filmmakers (the figure is seven of 16, 44%, if you don’t count Zhang Yimou’s One Second, which was pulled before it screened).

Still, the Berlin fest continues to compare favourably to the other major European festivals. In 2019, Venice featured just two women directors of the 21 films in its Competition (less than 10%), while Cannes selected four of 21 (19%).

Berlin Competition Lineup: Kelly Reichardt, Sally Potter, Abel Ferrara, Christian Petzold; Disney’s ‘Onward’ & Hillary Clinton Also Heading To Fest

58 Percent Female Directors

And 97 percent crappy movies. Which is actually down from past years. So keep up the good work or something.

Crap

The Berlin Film Festival on Wednesday unveiled its Generations sidebar lineup, consisting of 59 children and youth films, with 58 percent of the titles, both feature-length and short films, directed by women.

Berlin organizers recently also said that the festival’s co-production market, where producers look for partners to finance their new projects, will feature more than 50 percent female-directed films for the first time in its 17-year history.

PS: What prevented the token woman from getting her diet coke from the soda machine? She didn’t have enough quotas to pay for it.

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.”

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.