1676622501 The Berlinale starts with Zelenski capitulating and with films fleeing

The Berlinale starts with Zelenski capitulating and with films fleeing stupidity and money

Year 1 after Alcarràs at the Berlinale. For the Spanish industry, which travels and actively participates in the European Film Market under the umbrella of the film festival and is always strongly represented, this edition of the German event cannot be viewed any differently. A year has passed since that Golden Bear, but also since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The 73rd edition of the Berlinale is dedicated to supporting the cause: in addition to the screening of three feature films and a Ukrainian short film in various sections, the red carpet will become an act of solidarity with the occupied country this Friday and this Thursday in At the occasion During the inauguration, a video message was projected from the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, “a hero of our time,” as actress Anne Hathaway defined him hours earlier. This time, the politically and socially very permeable Berlinale has opted for militancy instead of cinema.

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Zelenski, an exponent-turned-politician and now the supreme leader of the nation that marched into the war that is taking place in Europe, has sent videos to key ceremonies and film institutions. The Berlinale is also showing Superpower on Saturday, the documentary Sean Penn was shooting in Kiev at the end of February 2022, when Russia began its attack. It was Penn himself who delivered Zelenski’s message at the gala, in which the President declared, “Culture chooses sides when it chooses to speak against the devil.” And in homage to the city, Zelensky pointed to the sky above Berlin, which “showed a divided city, though united by the angels flying free over the wall […]. Cinema can’t change the world, but it can inspire people to change it.”

Hathaway, one of the stars of the film that opened the festival this Thursday, She Came To Me, a weak romantic comedy directed by Rebecca Miller, said at the previous press conference: “I would like to express my gratitude to the festival for a The hero of our time and which gives us the opportunity to spread the message of Ukraine is the almost universal desire for peace.” Rebecca Miller added to the interpreter’s message: “I find it really amazing how the world is aligned in favor of Ukraine I see my film as a kind of goodwill ambassador for the USA towards other countries because filmmaking is sometimes an act of patriotism as you show different facets of your country, which is important to me because of the status of the USA in the world”. Curious reflection for Rebecca Miller, daughter of one of the greats of American theater, Arthur Miller, who was struggling to get ahead in her career; since 1995 he has directed only seven films. In She Came To Me he works on the whimsical aspects of a romantic comedy with an opera composer with a creative block, a psychoanalyst with the wish to become a nun, a love-addicted tugboat captain, a Polish cleaning lady and two feverishly in love teenagers. The bet does not work after the reactions of the press.

Rebecca Miller, yesterday morning at the Berlinale.Rebecca Miller, yesterday morning at the Berlinale.STEFANIE LOOS (AFP)

According to Miller, any possible relationship between his comedy and Zelenskiy, i.e. his projection according to the President’s message, can only be considered “a great honor because it is obvious: At this moment he is a hero”. And he emphasized: “One of the ways we can maybe make the world a more peaceful place is to make art speak across nations.” The co-directors of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, had previously stated in a statement: “Our solidarity and sympathy goes out to the victims […]the millions who left Ukraine and the artists who stayed behind to defend the country and continue to film the war.”

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyj, will appear via live video conference at the opening ceremony of the Berlinale.  In the middle, with his back to him, Sean Penn. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will appear via live video conference at the opening ceremony of the Berlinale. In the middle, with his back to him, Sean Penn. CLEMENS BILAN (EFE)

Another country worries the Berlinale: It has always supported Iranian cinema in its institutional statements and in the composition of the juries and sections. When they were able – and they managed to smuggle the films out – films were shown by filmmakers who were being persecuted by their country’s government. In addition, the last two directors released by the regime, Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, won the Golden Bear in 2015 and 2020 respectively. In this edition, the organization has covered this front with several round tables in the industrial area with Iranian projects, nine titles presented in different sections, an act of solidarity with their creators on the red carpet on Saturday afternoon and the presence on the jury of the actress Golshifté Farahani who fled to France in 2010. She has been banned from entering her country since 2012.

The Berlinale jury: from left Radu Jude, Valeska Grisebach, Carla Simón, Kristen Stewart, Golshifteh Farahani, Johnnie To and Francine Maisler.The Berlinale jury: from left Radu Jude, Valeska Grisebach, Carla Simón, Kristen Stewart, Golshifteh Farahani, Johnnie To and Francine Maisler CLEMENS BILAN (EFE)

Yesterday at the jury press conference, he asserted: “Iran is a dictatorship and it is not just something philosophical or theoretical. The people of Iran lack oxygen, air to breathe.” Farahani was able to go out, shooting both in Europe (The Stone of Patience, Altamira or Family Matters) and in the US (Paterson, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar). ” Existence is threatened, especially if you live as an artist in Iran,” he assured before emphasizing that he was in Berlin, “the city that symbolizes freedom with the fall of the Wall, a place where you work because art flourishes and culture”. And culture is celebrated, even if “you can feel that the world is collapsing in many places, not just in Iran,” emphasized Farahani.

All this stream of declarations and manifestos has somewhat left cinema aside. This art, which the juries defended in their morning presentation, included Farahadi, Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To, German director and author Valeska Grisebach, casting director – one of the most powerful in Hollywood industry – Francine Maisler and the latter two winners of the Berlinale: the Romanian Radu Jude and Carla Simón; all under the command of actress Kristen Stewart, at 32 years old the youngest president of the official jury to have ever participated in this competition. It was up to Stewart to defend that cinema was still alive (“We never stopped telling stories”) and to Simón to speak about emotions on screen: “Movies make us feel, think and reflect, and they grow as humanity. Watching movies and making movies sets us free in a way.” And Jude brought discord to his verbal satire, in the style of what he did on screen with his Golden Bear Unlucky Fuck or Crazy Fuck: “There is a great truth that the movie industry is a mixture of money and stupidity. Sometimes it’s nice to see movies that were made with less money and less stupidity. Sorry to spoil the party.” At the very least, Jude and his peers are eager to find talent and surprises.

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