For Dust, the director Udita Bhargava travelled to her Indian homeland and sent the protagonist of her film on a search for his lost love there. Or Hristiana Raykova, whose documentary Die Grube (The Pit) – about a thermal spa by the Bulgarian seaside and the people who visit it – was made at her birthplace, is also an example of this. Raykova depicts both the place and its inhabitants. This ‘pit’ has been a place for socio-cultural exchange for generations. Many older people use the spa like a bakery or a pub – as a meeting place where they can tell their stories and, at the same time, ensure the spot will continue to exist.
So it has become a very international programme, even though it continues to be called Perspektive Deutsches Kino. With this more globe-spanning selection, are you also, to an extent, sounding out anew what it can mean to talk about ‘German cinema’?
Eighteen years ago, Dieter Kosslick embarked on his time as Berlinale director by creating, in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino, a section for the next generation of filmmakers. It was his intention to do more for German film and, also, specifically to design a place for young filmmakers. He wanted – and continues to want – to give them the chance to position themselves at an A-festival alongside many established filmmakers. He intends to break down fears and promote self-esteem – all this needs to be learnt: to appear in front of 500 people and defend your film in a public discussion, or to celebrate it, which is, of course, easier.
But to return to your question: from the start, the definition has been that the film should be a majority German production, which means, over 50 percent of the production money should be German. And because many of the films that we screen are debut works, they often come from German film schools and fulfil the criteria that way.
But the world has changed in the years since the Perspektive was created. Eighteen years ago the films were, on average, more ‘German’ than they are today. Just as the world has opened up, making it easier to travel, so German film has opened up too.
Are there also other factors which have contributed to this internationalisation?
One aspect is that the equipment has become lighter and easier to handle and the camera technology has become much more advanced. It is now possible to film with much smaller crews and much cheaper conditions all round the world.
But on the other hand it is also true that many young directors from other countries are coming to Germany, and particularly to Berlin, to train at the film schools and learn their trade. That is another reason why the conditions have changed a lot in the past few years and we now find ourselves in the enviable position of being able to show debut films from all around the world.
Is there a geographical focus?
This year we named a small part of the programme ‘Trip to Italy’.
We included Off Season by Henning Beckhoff in this selection which was shot in Sicily and features Godehard Giese and Franziska Petri, both very well-known to Perspektive. The location makes its presence very much felt in this film.