Berlinale: Berlinale Topics


Series of Talks at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele

For years, discussions with filmmakers directly after the screenings of their films have been a special attraction of the festival experience for many Berlinale visitors. With the establishment of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele as a new venue in 2012, the Berlinale had the opportunity to use this space to expand discussions between filmmakers and the audience.

“Some topics simply demand more attention and a broader platform than the time allotted to them usually allows,” commented Festival Director Dieter Kosslick. Close contact with international stars in direct conversation after their appearance on the Red Carpet as well as immersion in topical issues –the events at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele offered both.

The talks took place directly after the screenings and varied, depending on the film, in content and form. In the Berlinale’s first year at this location, an impressive new format emerged.

In The Land Of Blood And Honey

Video: Angelina Jolie and Jasmila Žbanić

The new format launched with In The Land Of Blood And Honey, Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut. The film tells a painful love story set against the backdrop the war in Bosnia. Following the screening, Angelina Jolie talked with Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić, who won the Golden Bear for her post-war drama Grbavica at the Berlinale in 2006. A meeting between two filmmakers who have approached the same controversial topic in very different ways.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Video: Alison Klayman and Klaas Ruitenbeek

For her documentary portrait Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry American director Alison Klayman accompanied Chinese artist Ai Weiwei for years, and reveals the inseparable link between his artistic work and his political engagement. Following the screening, Alison Klayman talked with Klaas Ruitenbeek, director of Berlin’s Museum for Asian Art. The event was held in cooperation with Amnesty International.

Death Row

Video: Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog’s Death Row, a work that has an unusual format for a film festival, was given a platform at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. The former President of the International Jury (Berlinale 2010) presented his four-part TV series, each of which gives an individual portrait of a person who has been sentenced to death in the USA. Afterwards, the audience had the opportunity to discuss what they had seen with Werner Herzog.

Side By Side

Video: Talk on Side by Side

For the documentary film project Side By Side, Keanu Reeves interviewed over the years many masters of contemporary cinema. He asked them about the significance of digital technology for cinema and the art of filmmaking. The result is a number of very interesting conversations with legendary directors, such as Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh. Following the screening, Keanu Reeves discussed the topic with Chris Kenneally, the film’s director, and Michael C. Donaldson, a lawyer who is an important advocate of independent filmmakers and an expert on digital rights.

Althawra... Khabar (Reporting ... A Revolution)

Video of the discussion

Althawra ... Khabar (Reporting ... A Revolution) by Bassam Mortada accompanies six journalists from a Cairo daily paper, all of whom received training in video journalism right before the first demonstrations. With their newly acquired skills, they unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of a revolution. In a panel discussion with film journalist Alaa Karkouti from Kairo, Kismet El Sayed, Noura Younis, Shaayma Adel and Samah Abdel Aaty reflected on the events and the conflict of having to position themselves between journalist duty and active participation.

Hijos de las nubes, la última colonia (Sons Of The Clouds, The Last Colony)

Video: Vincenzo Bugno, Álvaro Longoria and Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem presented Hijos de las nubes, La última colonia (Sons Of The Clouds, The Last Colony) by Álvaro Longoria. The film draws attention to the current plight of the people of Western Sahara – a region that for decades has been a pawn on the board of European colonial interests. Following the film, Javier Bardem and Álvaro Longoriawill discussed the political situation with the audience. Berlinale delegate for the Maghreb & Mashreq and head of the World Cinema Fund Vincenzo Bugno moderated the panel.

Magyarország 2011 (Hungary 2011)

Video: Béla Tarr, Bence Fliegauf and Nikolaj Nikitin

The film from Berlinale Shorts Magyarország 2011 (Hungary 2011) is an omnibus film initiated by Béla Tarr (Berlinale 2011 Silver Bear for A torinói ló / The Turin Horse) about the current situation in Hungary. Eleven contributions including those by Bence Fliegauf, whose film Csak a szél (Just The Wind) was also in the Competition 2012, György Pálfi, Márta Mészáros, Péter Forgács and Miklós Jancsó showed the diversity of contemporary Hungarian cinema despite strict restrictions that had been imposed on freedom of the press and expression in the arts. Following the screening, Béla Tarr and Bence Fliegauf were talking with Berlinale delegate Nikolaj Nikitin about the possibilities of art, and film in particular, to influence or even change the political situation in a country. With this event, the Berlinale sent a clear signal of support for independent Hungarian cinema.

Parabeton - Pier Luigi Nervi und römischer Beton

Arno Brandlhuber, Gertrud Koch, Hanns Zischler, Heinz Emigholz, Anselm Franke

Following the screening of Heinz Emigholz´s Parabeton - Pier Luigi Nervi und römischer Beton (Parabeton - Pier Luigi Nervi and Roman Concrete), the Forum hosted a panel discussion with the filmmaker. Emigholz discussed the final film in his series “Architecture as Autobiography” with urban planer and architect Arno Brandlhuber, film scholar Gertrud Koch and curator Anselm Franke. The conversation was moderated by Hanns Zischler.

Der Blaue Engel, Münchhausen, Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us)

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Studio Babelsberg, three films from different political eras were presented from the special series “Happy Birthday, Studio Babelsberg”. Josef von Sternberg’s Der Blaue Engel (1930) represented the Weimar Republic, followed by Münchhausen, which had been made in 1943 during the Nazi era. Wolfgang Staudte’s Die Mörder sind unter uns (Murderers Are Among Us, 1946) paintsed a striking picture of postwar Germany. In a discussion about responsibility and the enmeshment of politics and studio system, film journalist and author Ralf Schenk took a critical look at history. The panel also included Daniela Sannwald, co-author of the book “Die Frauen von Babelsberg”; Klaus Kreimeier, an undeniable expert on cinema of these eras; as well as Christoph Fisser, one of the current directors of Studio Babelsberg. Rudolf Jürschik, who had been DEFA’s last head dramaturge, gave insight into the work of the studio before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Anton Corbijn Inside Out

Director Klaartje Quirijns and moderator Anatol Weber on the stage of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

The director Klaartje Quirijns presented Anton Corbijn Inside Out, her documentary portrait of the member of the International Jury 2012. Besides many music videos, Anton Corbijn has made two feature films: Control (2007) about Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis and The American (2010). He is internationally renowned for his photography of musicians such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and Sting. Anatol Weber moderated the panel.

Da Nao Tian Gong 3D (The Monkey King - Uproar in Heaven 3D)

The section director of Generation Maryanne Redpath with the film crew of Da Nao Tian Gong 3D

The Chinese animation Da Nao Tian Gong 3D (The Monkey King – Uproar in Heaven 3D) from Generation was screened out of competition. In collaboration with the 3D specialists from Avatar and Harry Potter, The Monkey King - which originally consisted of some 130,000 drawings - is one of the first films to have been restored using modern 3D technology.