Let’s pause a moment to reflect on the upcoming Berlinale Film Festival which starts from today. It’s the time of the year when our beloved city transforms into a tiny Hollywood where red carpets are rolled out, Paparazzi linger in dark alleys and your chances of running into Werner Herzog on your way home are higher than ever. This year the Dieter Kosslick curated festival will focus on the future. The future of our lives: how do we want to live? What’s the impact of the Arab spring, Fukushima, Ai Weiwei and the financial crisis on our lives? “There are a lot of films in this festival about changes happening in the world,” Kosslick said. “We are showing the films in order to create a bigger picture about upheaval and awakening…It was natural to link these films with our other activities.”
The variety of the selection films sounds promising even though there are not many big names in the competion. The big-hitters still tend to prefer Cannes but that doesn’t have to be a disadvantage for the 62nd Festival. Debutants, unknown directors, and countries not associated with film-making can all offer a great deal that will not been seen elsewhere. Twenty-three films will be screened in the competition program, with 18 vying for the Golden and Silver Bear awards. One cool thing is that there are some promising German films on the program with renowned directors such as Hans-Christian Schmid, Matthias Glasner and Christian Petzold making submissions. On the contrary the US is keeping a low profile and is participating in the competition with only one film. In Jayne Mansfield’s Car director and actor Billy Bob Thornton offers a family drama set in the US at the end of the 1960s. Some 300,000 viewers attended the Berlinale last year, and that’s likely to be the case again this year. You better buy your tickets soon. See you there.