Berlinale: Yearbook


30th Berlin International Film Festival
February 18 - 29, 1980

"The selection of films was most attractive, even the questionable works failed in an interesting manner."

(Film critic Ekkehard Pluta gives a "thoughtful evaluation" of the Forum programme in the "Stuttgarter Zeitung".)

© Filmmuseum Berlin
Press conference for La Mort en Directe: Moritz de Hadeln, Romy Schneider, Harvey Keitel

Mending broken china

Moritz de Hadeln's new role as Berlinale director did not get off to an easy start. After the previous year’s Deer Hunter scandal, it was now necessary to pour oil on troubled waters and create a feasible way for the socialist countries to return to the festival. This was once again hampered by the geopolitical situation: Western states were considering a boycott of the Olympic games in Moscow in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the end, Moritz de Hadeln succeeded in winning the socialist states back. He was aided in no small part by Horst Pehnert, the East German deputy Minister of Culture, who in the following years would appear again and again as a skilful mediator when the interests of film threatened to be trampled by those of diplomacy.

Even though tensions had been eased in East-West film relations, the Soviet Union’s intervention in the run-up to the festival had led to the films Ninotchka and One, Two, Three being withdrawn from the Billy Wilder Homage. Nonetheless, the Retrospectives belonged to this year’s highlights. Along with the Billy Wilder tribute, the festival for the first time put on a “technical” retrospective: 3D films were shown to an enthusiastic – and bespectacled – crowd in the Astor cinema on the Kurfürstendamm.

Moritz de Hadeln's first year: Consequent Renewal

Like his predecessor Wolf Donner, Moritz de Hadeln implemented several new features in the festival structure right at the beginning of his term of office. He assured that an increased number of filmmakers, critics and producers were appointed to the advisory board, and formed a committee to consult him on film selection. He also continued Wolf Donner’s commitment to the Film Market, expanding it further and entrusting Aina Bellis with its leadership. De Hadeln also regarded the Kinderfilmfest as a top priority and further enhanced its status by changing the requirements for selection: Now, as in the Competition, “new films that have not yet been shown at another international event” were preferred.

Richard Pearce, Roberto Benigni

Moritz de Hadeln appointed Manfred Salzgeber, who had already been involved in the founding of the Forum, as director of the Country Focus. Salzgeber had gone to Amsterdam in the mid-1970s in protest against the increasingly repressive German domestic policies during the “German Autumn”. Moritz de Hadeln convinced him to come back, and assigned him with developing the Info-Schau into an independent programme. Five years later the Info-Schau would become the Panorama, whose profile today still bears traces of Manfred Salzgeber’s vision.

Competition and Forum share equal status

So there were a lot of changes in the 1980 Berlinale. The festival turned thirty, the Forum ten, and while the cooperation between the two main sections of the Berlinale continued to be a work in progress, the conflicts of past years were clearly bearing fruit. The board of trustees recognized the two sections as equal partners. The productive tension between Forum and Competition was increasingly viewed as a mark of quality of the festival. It was positive for both filmmakers and producers that the Berlinale made available “two entirely different modes of presentation in terms of screening conditions and audience expectations”, Ulrich Gregor wrote in his closing report.

In an unusually extensive programme, the Forum showed 94 films in ten rather than the traditional eight days, with an emphasis on documentaries, American independents, Brazilian cinema and experimental films. One of the outstanding films of the Forum this year was also Amor de Perdição | Ill-Fated Love by Portuguese director Manuel de Oliveira, whose impressive work was introduced to the West German public for the first time.

Award Ceremony: Ingrid Thulin, Werner Schroeter, Moritz de Hadeln

“Germany – as uninhabitable as the moon, a nightmare” ...

... wrote Wolfram Schütte about Werner Schroeter’s Palermo oder Wolfsburg | Palermo or Wolfsburg, addressing the uneasiness that was expressed in many of the German entries. Schroeter’s film was considered one of the best of the Competition, which otherwise drew mixed reviews. Films by Andrzej Wajda, Marco Ferreri, Zeki Ökten, Helma Sanders-Brahms, István Szabó, Konrad Wolf and Bertrand Tavernier raised high expectations but were not able to convince everyone. Eastern European films drew attention to themselves with their amusing as well as critical tones: Wajda’s Dyrygent | The Conductor, Wolf’s Solo Sunny and Vladimir Menshov’s Moskva slezam ne verit | Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears were among the most discussed films of the year, and the Silver Bear for Renate Krößner in Solo Sunny was fiercely applauded by the audience – Berliners’ notorious irreverence crossed ideological boundaries.

The outstanding film in the Kinderfilmfest this year was the Swedish Jag Är Maria | I Am Maria by Karsten Wedel. In a subsequent assessment, the State Image Archive wrote that the film “made other children’s films in the programme appear oddly childish and silly. These films pass over, cover up or dispel with gags problems that in Jag Är Maria stay real.” The Kinderfilmfest was revising its genre.