Diao Yinan with the Golden Bear trophy; photo: Berlinale
Our second reportage from the Berlin International Film Festival seems to go beyond the outlines of Europe, but it deals in fact with the way Berlinale has nurtured and shaped many national cinematographies for decades. For good or for bad, this year it is China’s turn, so here we go with Jia Xu's blitz evaluation of the tactics for bear hunting.
Clemens von Wedemeyer’s installation Afterimage at Forum Expanded; photo: Berlinale
The Berlin International Film Festival is not only one of the oldest and most prestigious in Europe, it has also turned into a personification of EU-rope, both politically and culturally. It does not look like a coincidence that the festival opened with Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and then awarded the film with the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize. As Joachim Kurz first stated in his video diary for Kino-Zeit.de and then wrote in his review, Wes Anderson (re)created a fairy-tale Europe, a feel-good territory of imagination and retro humor. Thus, we launch our heavy-weight bear coverage as a tribute and a follow-up to this year’s IFFR Slow Criticism edition by focusing on the way Berlin / Europe and the world cinema , presented at the festival, relate to each other. Our starting point is the so called periphery, with Greg de Cuir, Jr's take on Forum Expanded – as we progress to what appears to be the center (or die Mitte), hopefully we will find some new answers… or questions.
Still from the festival trailer
Just when the aftermath of IFF Rotterdam fueled some harsh comments and replies about the current state of film festivals, here is an interview that provides an unconventional perspective to the cinema industry and the programmer’s work in particular. Tue Steen Müller, one of the most well-known and experienced professionals in the field of documentaries, discusses quality and quantity with Greg de Cuir, Jr.
A helicopter descends in the frosty morning, Emir Kusturica, wearing a black fur cap, stands near by together with women in traditional costumes, all ready to welcome the guest. It looks like a film shot, but this time it is for real. Greg de Cuir, Jr risked his life to bring us a report from the legendary Küstendorf International Film and Music Festival, the anti-festival with a twist.
Even if Léo Soesanto followed his own practical guidance for surviving Park City, after one week of intense hype and parties, Sundance looks like this. Add also the bitter-sweet feeling of willing to go back home and not willing to go back home at the same time and you will get the perfect dose of classical festival fatigue.
Most probably, Sundance means to you indie cinema, hipster sweaters, and sophisticatedly relaxed parties. Well, once you go there, you suddenly realize there are also snowdrifts, frenzy schedules, and tons of overhyped films. Here is Léo Soesanto's survival kit in the form of instructional video, be watchful!
Our poll results are finally out! Compared to the endless lists you can find in other media, our cinematic 2013 looks compact yet luscious – 8 participants classified 34,5 films in 5 categories which, from statistical point of view, means 2 things. First, we think and work in one and the same professional context, and, second, our personal preferences differ. In other words, festivalisting with us in 2014 promises to be an even more overwhelming and saturated experience, so do not miss it!
James Berclaz-Lewis lives in Geneva and contributes to Already Heard, Scènes Magazine, Daily Movies, and after the latest edition of Locarno Critics Academy – to IndieWire and FilmLinc.
Pamela Biénzobas is a Paris-based freelance critic and journalist from Chile, co-founder of Revista de Cine Mabuse, and FIPRESCI's hit-girl.
Greg de Cuir, Jr is our Belgradian intelligencer – a freelance programmer and translator who also writes for Cineaste, Jump Cut, KinoKultura, and his own film blog.
Tara Karajica's primary home is in Belgrade too, where she writes as a freelancer for Film-Historia Online, CINEmagazín (of which she is also deputy editor), and her own blog The Film Prospector.
Gaetano Maiorino switches between Rome and Toronto, as well as between film criticism (Close-Up.it, CineClandestino.it) and film industry (Linea d’Ombra, Seattle International Film Festival, TIFF).
Michael Pattison is a Gateshead boy who blogs at idFilm and Neil Young’s Film Lounge, plus has been published most recently by Sight & Sound, IndieWire, Grolsch Film Works, and Slant Magazine.
Yoana Pavlova, founder and editor-in-chief of Festivalists, is a Bulgarian living in Paris. After having contributed to the platform for contemporary arts and culture 1 for several years, now she freelances for various editions in Bulgarian, English, and French and delves into digital media.
Frédéric Viaux is the Paris-based founder and editor-in-chief of Quelques Films.