Premiering 25 international films each year, the Berlinale unites 7000 film professionals, and 300 000 film goers, in a vortex of colour, energy and creativity. The competition, running since 1951, is the linchpin of the festival, promoting interesting cinema and alternative ideas. Having attracted directing royalty in the past from Jean Luc Goddard to Martin Scorcese, this year’s competition offers a feast for the eyes selected by festival director Dieter Kosslick.
Something for everyone
Showcasing around 400 films per year, with professional visitors from 115 countries, the Berlinale features films of every genre, length and format. Whether you consider yourself to be a film buff, or your film knowledge leaves something to be desired,Berlin’s film festival has the power to excite all. The Berlinale programme is split into various sections, including:
- Competition: great international cinema. Entrants compete for bear awards, including the golden bear for top film.
- Panorama: independent arthouse.
- Forum: avant garde and unfamiliar cinematography.
- Berlinale shorts: exploration of cinematic possibilities.
Films, films, films
Not to miss: ‘Barbara’, premiering in the competition, is brought to us by renowned German director and protagonist of the Berliner Schule (Berlin School) Christian Petzold. Exploring a doctor’s life and personal relationships in the GDR which she desires to leave, Barbara is Petzold’s third outing at the Berlinale. If Gespenster (2005) and Yella (2007) are anything to go by, Barbara is a film to get excited about.
An all-star cast brings American drama ‘Cherry‘ to life. Potential to be the talk of the town, this film about a troubled young woman caught up in a life of pornography and drug addiction in San Francisco, is showing in the panorama section. Little known director, Stephen Elliot, handles big name actors James Franco, Heather Graham and Dev Patel – a rarity for Hollywood which suggests that Elliot and the script offer something extraordinary.
Current affairs: The revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa, known as theArab Spring, have dominated news media over the last 12 months. In line with the world at present, the Berlinale is screening a host of films from across the region. Without focusing explicitly on the uprisings, the films address existential questions like the need for the region’s peoples to define their identity. With much humour at times, these films will coincide with a number of panel discussions on the Arab world and filmmaking.