In December 1952 the Berlin Senate votes in a budgetary session to make painful cuts in the budget of the film festival. The Finance Senator’s office criticizes the management of the festival and acts on its words by cutting not only Alfred Bauer’s salary, but also by limiting his contract – breaking previous agreements. Bauer considers the move an affront and resigns. After negotiations, most of the plans for cuts are scrapped, prompting Bauer to withdraw his resignation.
Workers' revolt in East Berlin
The third Berlinale begins on June 18, 1953, one day after the violently repressed revolt in the eastern part of the city, which ends with protests by construction workers on Stalinallee. The political situation puts a damper on the festival atmosphere and results in a noticeable drop in audience numbers, because the sector boundaries are temporarily closed. One of the stars of the festival is Gary Cooper, who arrives with his wife and family. His critical comments on the repressive policies of the American Senator and communist-hunter McCarthy are met with ambivalence in Berlin. The Golden Bear – awarded for the second time by the audience – goes to Le Salaire de la Peur by Henri Clouzot, a decision that was well received.
German films fail
One of the films that received the most attention was Jacques Tati’s Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot | Monsieur Hulot's Holiday. And a blatant curiosity was the almost documentary-style portrayal of the daily life of Boy Kumasenu from the Gold Coast. For the third year in a row the German contributions to the festival are a flop with audiences and the press. Erik Ode’s Der Kampf der Tertia | Fight of the Tertia and Rudolf Jugert’s Ein Herz spielt falsch | A Heart's Foul Play are considered embarrassing slip-ups, artistically and intellectually far below the international competition. On the one hand the selection process is burdened by different sensitivities, on the other hand, the (West) German film industry is unable to overcome the structural problems it has been stuck in for the eight years since the end of the war.