February 28, 2021

The Berlinale is entangled in its past | Culture



The new one Berlinale He wants to leave the old woman behind. And for this he denies almost everything previously built. There is no longer a director, but two: the Italian Carlo Chatrian is the new artistic director and the Dutch Mariette Rissenbeek is responsible for the financial side. But they work in reality as a tandem. Chatrian comes from directing the Locarno festival, and has turned the new Berlinale into the 2014 Locarno, which is neither good nor bad. We will have to see how the movies are, although it is clear that there will be few media stars: Sigourney Weaver at the opening, Johnny Depp and a Pixar movie for the weekend and Hillary Clinton, Javier Bardem and Cate Blanchett in the middle of the following week .

In those doubts the Culinary Cinema section, dedicated to documentaries about chefs, has already disappeared, and another one, Encuentros, dedicated to more risky films opens, which questions the criteria of the competition, the Berlinale Special section and sections such as Panorama and Forum. There is even more: young directors enter Generation. Very diffuse borders to classify films have turned the Berlinale into a tailor’s drawer that will probably be clarified in future editions. For now the films of Abel Ferrara, Matteo Garrone, Tsai Ming Liang, Christian Petzold, Cristi Puiu, Agnieszka Holland, Vadim Perelman, Sally Potter, Rithy Panh, Hong Sangsoo, Philipe Garrel or Kelly Reichardt, probably the most present filmmaker in Festivals that are less known in Spain.

Because for this edition, the round anniversary, that of the seventy years dedicated to films, have decided to reflect on what cinema is. With talks between paired filmmakers: Paolo Taviani dialogues with Carlo Sironi, Margarethe von Trotta with Ina Weisse, Jia Zhang-Ke with Huo Meng, Ang Lee with Hirokazu Kore-eda, and so on up to seven. Some feature a film, such as Jia Zhang-Ke, which inaugurates Special with its documentary Swimming Out Till The Sea Turns Blue, about the influence of the Cultural Revolution, economic reforms and modernization in the work of three writers of different generations.

In this move away from the past it has been up to the founder of the event, Alfred Bauer, who directed the Berlinale from its first edition in 1951 to 1975. Bauer gave a name from 1987 to a silver bear that was delivered inside the medal winners to the film that “Open new perspectives in film art.” Two weeks ago the weekly Die zeit He published, based on a biography that is going to be published soon, that Bauer was a fundamental piece in the general film direction of the Third Reich, and that he personally controlled the use of actors, actresses, directors and screenwriters, choosing the fit and not fit for ideological affinity. Bauer also decided which artists were exempt from going to the front, who were destined to manufacture weapons for war and who at the front line. The Berlinale immediately withdrew the name of its founder from the award, and on Tuesday he commissioned the Institute of Contemporary History, which is dedicated to the academic study of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany, a commission that delves into Bauer’s past. The final report will be available in summer.

In this flight, on the other hand, he has made recourse to the empowerment of filmmakers. If last week the San Sebastian pageant published its report on gender identification of the cinema of its 2019 edition, the Berlinale starts showing the 2019 and 2020 survey. And the percentage of directors in the Competition declines: not at Venetian levels -the less inclusive contest of the big-but yes with respect to 2019: down from 41% (seven of 17 in competition) to 33% (six of 18). Although it is true that they have received 6,825 films with 60.9% of male directors, and project 342 with 51.6% led by male filmmakers.

And he has not left behind his author films for all audiences. The contest has opened with My year with Salinger, based on Joanna Rakoff’s autobiographical novel. On January 8, 1996, a twenty-year-old Rakoff went to work in Manhattan at the veteran literary agency Harold Ober, a company still anchored in the past of typewriters and telephone files with cards, but with a portfolio full of brilliant authors: James M. Cain, Agatha Christie, Pearl Buck and the Crown Jewel, J. D. Salinger. For them, Jerry dry. Rakoff worked as an assistant to Phyllis Westberg, the president and direct representative of Salinger. For a year Rakoff read the letters that fans sent to the author of The guardian among the rye. It was a preventive measure after the assassination of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman, who turned himself in by reading a copy of the novel. Rakoff crossed a red line: he began to answer some letters that caught his attention, although always in his name, while initiating a friendly relationship by telephone with the mythical and elusive writer. Rakoff gives life to a budding star, Margaret Qualley (Once upon a time in … Hollywood, Seberg: beyond cinema), and to Westberg, a dynasty of the literary edition, Sigourney Weaver, that raises the movie In the insulting press conference of the film, directed by the Canadian Philippe Falardeau (The good lie, Professor Lazhar), Weaver has at least insisted that in the soul of the film there is a certain idea that “art changes people”, and that as an actress she has to believe what her character creates. The interpreter bargained the obligatory question about future deliveries of Avatar; and advised everyone to get carried away by his heart: at his side the authentic Rakoff, a declared fan of Weaver, nodded in bewilderment, because after a year he left the agency in pursuit of achieving his dream, being a writer.

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