Friday, 18 February 2011

Berlinale Roundup

Yesterday I returned from Berlin where I spent a week at the Berlinale, my second visit. Last year I blogged that the festival was a real downer in both tone and content, with a dominance of slow cinema, and frankly, unremarkable films. I thought it might have been an off year, but 2011 was yet another collection of mostly dour movies (with some exceptions, which I will talk about further ahead.)

This year I was there with two colleagues from the cinema, Rob Beames (Dukes staff member and writer for Obsessed with Film, Picturehouse Blog and his own, Beames on Film) and with Duty Manager Carina Volkes. You can listen to a podcast we all recorded together in Berlin at iTunes or at the Picturehouse website. Another podcast shall be recorded next week with a roundup of the festival.

One of the biggest stories at this year's festival is the presence of so many 3D features, many by acclaimed arthouse filmmakers: Wim Wenders' PINA, Herzog's CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS and Ocelot's TALES OF THE NIGHT being the three highest profile ones. This festival may mark a new beginning in the use of 3D outside of the blockbuster genre, as acclaimed filmmakers take on this new tool and apply it in unusual ways. Wenders has created a revolutionary performance piece with PINA, pushing the medium to maximum effect - I still haven't seen the Herzog, but we're installing 3D at The Dukes in order to screen it. Picturehouse Entertainment, a division of City Screen, our parent company, is distributing it in the UK and many of the cinemas in the group are installing 3D equipment ahead of this release. I believe this is a game-changing moment for the arthouse scene and 3D in this country, and eventually, in Europe.

Other highlights in the festival included THE GUARD, a hilarious comedy with Brendan Gleeson as a corrupt, perverse Irish cop; MAMA AFRICA, a documentary about Miriam Makeba, and THE DAY IS DONE, an experimental moving image project from Switzerland; and sitting next to Isabella Rossellini at the Bergman reception.

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