This week is the opening of the 67th Berlinale, the annual film festival that attracts both a diverse audience, including a fancy red-carpet with your favorite famous actors and actresses, as well as your average movie goer such as myself!
Berlinale is serious business! A quick look at the program will leave you thinking that only Germans could organize a festival of this caliber throughout the city. Films are listed according to category and the self-given title, “The Entire World of Film”, found on the ‘about’ section of the website pretty much sums it all up.
- Competition where you can place your vote after the screening
- Panorama for independent and art house
- Generation for young audiences and coming of age themes
- Perspektive Deutsches Kino for new talents in German film
- Forum for avant garde, experimental, and unfamiliar cinematography (plus there is Forum expanded)
- Berlinale Short is for as the name hints at short films
- Berlinale Special (including Berlinale Special Gala) shows new productions and honors cinema personalities
- Berlinale Special Series is for everything that doesn’t fit in the category above
- Berlinale Classics for old school hits we love
- Retrospective and Homage for “the œuvre of a great personality of cinema, curated by the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen”
- Culinary Cinema taking food porn to the next level
- Berlinale Goes Kiez which presents select films at arthouse cinemas throughout the city
- NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema for telling the stories of Indigenous peoples worldwide
I am almost certainly leaving out some of the categories and it’s still a bit fuzzy how and why there are three subcategories of Berlinale Special (which is a category I would use for almost anything shown at the festival).
The sheer amount of films shown is both exciting and a bit overwhelming. I mean really screw the categories how are you ever going to screen through that many trailers? Oh wait, lots of the films don’t have trailers- just stills and a description with a detailed bio of the direct and producer. Sassiness aside, be sure to take a seat and have a cup of coffee by your side when planning.
My tip– just wing it! Go to whatever sounds interesting and don’t try to read too much into the film synopsis. Plus, most cinemas are located at Potsdamer Platz in Mitte, which is central and easy to reach, so no need to worry about venue locations.
If you come across any films that you are dying to see, which I’m sure you will, make sure to book your tickets in advance. You can buy tickets three days before screenings and ticket sales for repeat screenings of Competition films start four days in advance. On the day of the screening, tickets are only available at the box offices of the cinemas themselves and on www.berlinale.de Beware! Buying tickets online cost and extra 1.50 Euro per ticket simply because!
First impression—two thumbs up! At 11 Euros a ticket you are really getting your money’s worth with great films, engaging director Q&As, plus great cinemas.
Wait, There’s More- Extras
For the hungry bear, be sure to check out the the Berlinale Street Food Market with trucks on Joseph-von-Eichendorff-Gasse at the corner of Alte Potsdamer Straße. Feb 9 to 19, 2017, daily from 11.00 am to 10.00 pm, coffee and breakfast available from 8.00 am.
For the artistically inclined/interested, check out Joe Ramirez’s Gold Projections at the Kulturforum during the film festival. His work will also appear in a major exhibit called “Alchemy: the Great Art,”opening in Berlin in April, with around 200 exhibits, many on loan from the Berlin State Museums.
Plus, check out the cool Berlinale products. I have my heart set on getting one of the bags!