(Berlin.) The Berlinale is history, and soon we’ll talk about art again. But first... Berlinale Jury was composed of Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall), Maggie Gyllenhaal, German actress Julia Jentzsch, Mexican actor/director Diego Luna, Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha Fourati, Chinese screenwriter Wang Quan’an and artist Olafur Eliasson. I honestly wonder, which friend of a friend Olafur Eliasson met over a beer in Berlin to bring him here. Berlinale’s “catalogue” lists the greatest hits of each jury member, and says about Eliasson: “Artistic Oeuvre (selection): The Weather Project (2003), Ice Watch (2014/15), Versailles (2016)”. I think, this is funny. But of course, one of the keywords for this year’s edition of the festival is “artists” (Giacometti, Beuys, Django Reinhardt, Eliasson).
The film selection (“curating”) was ok. All in all, there've been several hundred films to watch during the ten days of Berlinale, in categories called Forum, Shorts, Forum Expanded, Panorama, Special, Generation 14plus, ... There was also Homages and Retrospectives. It offered me the chance to honour the late John Hurt by watching once again his legendary “ouch, that hurt scene” in Alien. There’s much wrong with this film, but still, it looks, and feels, way more realistic than any CGI generated cartoon spaceship.
Competition/Out of Competition means “promotion for bigger productions”. But why call it thus? To take it for a bad example – “money focused non art stuff that would not stand a chance in the competition”? The Final Portrait and Sage Femme figured there!
The winners have been announced in a modest gala on Saturday night (the closing Sunday is just for the plebs, professionals don't get any more free tickets). Don’t take the Silver Bears seriously, though. Nobody, and certainly nobody in the jury, really thinks, Georg Friedrich is a better actor than Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Cillian Murphy, or even João Pedro Vaz. Or there would be anything special in the way, Aki Kaurismäki directed his propaganda film The Other Side of Hope. And the script is probably the least impressive part of Una Mujer Fantastica. It’s all politics.
But fine, we won’t complain, the best film won the Best Film award!
Ladies and gentlemen, here are the votes of the International Jury:
Golden Bear for the Best Film:
Testről és lélekről (On Body and Soul)
Silver Bear Great Price of the Jury (wtf does this even mean?!)
Silver Bear - Alfred-Bauer Award for a Film that Opens New Perspectives:
Silver Bear for Best Director:
Aki Kaurismäki, Toivon Tuolla Puolen (The Other Side of Hope)
Silver Bear for Best Actress:
Kim Minhee, Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone)
Silver Bear for Best Actor:
Georg Friedrich, Helle Nächte (Bright Nights)
Silver Bear for Best Script:
Sébastian Lello and Gonzalo Maza, Una Mujer Fantastica (A Fantastic Woman)
Silver Bear for Exceptional Artistic Contribution in Camera, Cut, Soundtrack, or Set Design:
Dana Bunescu, Cutter of Ana, mon amour
Time for some afterthoughts.
Germany, the host country, had three films in competition. Two of them are awful. Tell somebody, they should stop the government funding, because it’s not only un-, but anti-democratic, and you get the answer, “there would not be any German films at all”! You are then not expected to smile, and say: “Yes.”
If only Europeans had agreed to create a united anti-Hollywood in the 1960s, somewhere sunny, Côte d’Azur maybe. As it is, we’re cursed to live with films some civil servants have approved. Could you imagine only to watch what your tax inspector likes?
After the opening press conference, one week prior to the opening, the e-mails started to pour in, ten a day at least. From each and every production company and rights dealer connected to Berlinale and the European Film Market (EFM). I hardly read any of them. Nobody does. The only exception: A Chinese production company inviting me to a festive dinner. I hesitated, do they really want a blogger, an impostor? Then my mind followed a new chain of associations that went like this: “Chinese – networking – film producer – money, a lot.”
The domain of one of the RSVP mail addresses looked like an online shop with attached webmail. Still: “money, a lot.” Others thought the same: By the time, I answered the mail, all places were taken. But they insisted on me interviewing the Asian Brilliant Stars Best Director. I did.
That Asian Brilliant Stars award sculpture reminds of the People’s Daily headquarters, don’t you think?
I forgot to continue my “work in progress” on Joe Ramirez’ The Gold Variations at Kunstforum. So here’s part 2, and 3: Part 2 had a bigger gong on the other wall. It looked silver, not gold. The same kind of painting styled images. If your gallery is not as rich, you can recreate the effect by other means: Take a cooking pan, and attach it to a wall. Apply lotion on your hands, and touch the lens of your film projector. The fingerprints will produce similar patterns to those of Ramirez.
The third part had a still larger silver gold plate, cut in half. Again projections of landscapes and dressed up people moving slowly. Like paintings; blurred and a hint of 3D.
Final questions: How much did it cost Sunseeker Yachts Inc. to be in Logan?
And who wore (and sang) it better: Una Mujer Fantastica or Dr. Frank N. Furter?