Her plea for diversity found prominent support: “I usually hate film festivals. Last night, Gus [Van Sant] was doing the Berlin Talents and I went along to watch and saw all these young filmmakers that are curious about the process and hearing Gus speak, I had a real appreciation for a film festival,” said Joaquin Phoenix, in Berlin for the premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worrry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, about his first positive festival experience (deadline, February 21, 2018).
As in previous years, the days of the festival celebrated the opportunity provided by almost 400 films to travel round the world, experience the most diverse milieus, ways of life, opinions and attitudes, and to put one’s own preconceptions and prejudices to the test. “The eyes of many Berlinale viewers are shining when the credits roll and they ponder the films in the Panorama, Forum or Generation sections on which they have fruitfully lavished their time in recalibrating their own world view,” wrote Robert Ide (Der Tagespiegel, February 26, 2018). The 2018 Competition was representative of the immense diversity of the entire festival. Film critic Katja Nicodemus admitted: “I have never experienced anything like it, so many different aesthetics and crazy film ideas” (NDR Online, February 22, 2018).
For the very first time in its history, the Berlinale opened with an animated film: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs was not only a curatorial stroke of luck, bringing the necessary star power to the festival’s first Red Carpet, but also a “parable of a world filled with fascist ideas of purity and exclusion” (Verena Lueken, FAZ, February 16, 2018) and hence a paradigm for the festival’s concept of diversity.