Hopes with Curry Wurst
One of the most famous phrases about Berlin is what former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit said “Berlin ist arm aber sexy” which literally means “Berlin is poor but sexy”. The Berlinale “Berlin international film festival” is a truthful representation of these two sides of that megacity. The festival which started as a summer film festival in 1951 and was switched to the month of February in 1978, is one of the “big five” in the world of international film festivals around the globe (alongside Venice, Cannes, Toronto, and Sundance). It’s still the only one among these five which is happening in a city with 3.6 million inhabitants.
The experience of Berlinale is unique because of the nonstop evolving history of that megacity, the city that was divided not so long ago. That history is tattooed on the face of the city till now. You can see parts of the Berlin wall on your way from one movie to another, Here the Berliners are meeting the film Stars and the movie makers in addition to energetic film critics, the public screening tickets are nearly full all the time, mostly all the tickets are nearly sold out within five minutes of the sale beginning. It’s the city that became multicultural recently, with curry Wurst and Döner Kebab as the two most beloved street food.
It’s a huge festival with sometimes nearly 400 movies screened, in the last few years Asghar Farhadi premiered his masterpiece A separation here, Ildikó Enyedi started her On body and soul journey and the Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki got his golden bear for Spirited away 20 years ago.
Although there is construction work in the streets, and the festival is struggling Now to get big names in the official competition and we are all suffering with the new booking system- still, it’s an experience worth living for. For the hope to discover new Cinematic gems in the alternative scene of Berlinale. And with the hope of some improvements to get the full potential of this gigantic festival.
Hosam Mostafa Fahmy
Edited by Ron Fogel
© FIPRESCI 2023