Berlinale Days Three through 10 (Feb. 13-21)

February 28, 2010

Reality

Writers have blogs, but dissertation writers probably shouldn’t.  I realize this after I woke up this morning and realized there’d been a week since the end of the Berlinale and I hadn’t so much as hinted at my experiences there.  Too much other writing going on.

Since I probably have too much to describe anyhow, I will use the woefully insufficient writing device of bullet points to summarize.

During Days 3-10 of the Berlinale 2010, I…

* …attended three retrospective panels with film artists in attendance.
* …discovered an excellent bistro: Marcann’s.
* …helped the HFF and sehsüchte host the Filmhochschule Party at HBC.
* …began planning a DEFA conference.
* …found myself watching more Japanese films than German or American.
* …saw Katrin Saß, Sylvain Chomet and Hanna Schygulla in the flesh.
* …met Gojko Mitic, Wolfgang Kohlhaase, Günter Reisch, F.B. Habel, Stefan Haupt, Anton Kaes, Rainer Rother, Ralf Schenk, Günter Agde, Wolfgang Mühl-Benninghaus, Wolfgang Klaue, Karl Griep and Bernd Plattner.  I leave this to be examined by DEFA scholars.
* …regularly got up at 6 a.m. to get my accreditation tickets at Potsdamer Platz.
* …was threatened with physical violence by an angry old woman who thought I had unfairly cut in front of her in the ticket line.
* …wrote eight pages of solid film theory for my dissertation (dork moment).

What films did I watch and what did I think of them?  Scroll down to Fantasy.

Here’s some photographic evidence of my meeting DEFA director Günter Reisch:

Günter Reisch and Evan Torner

Günter Reisch and me at the Progress Reception

Fantasy

The Illusionist (dir. Sylvain Chomet, 2010)

Utterly brilliant. Read my thoughts here.

Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (dir. Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillét, 1968)

A history of Bach that preserves its own historicity.  I must have seen this one about six or seven times.  Yet I still have trouble ordering all the images in my head, but they look fantastic in 35mm.

The Law of Desire (dir. Pedro Almodòvar, 1987)

A tightly controlled meditation on the sensual possibilities of film and film-writing through melodrama.  Anticipates Almodòvar’s entire career.

Red Sorghum (dir. Zhang Yimou, 1988)

A Chinese nationalist epic that starts off on the right foot and somehow ends on the far right foot…

Summer Wars (dir. Mamoru Hosoda, 2009)

This is the must-see anime of the year: a look at cyberwarfare through the story of a shogun family in modern times.  Reminds one of Satoshi Kon’s Paprika (2006), with perhaps a far less open ending.

Kyoto Story (dir. Yoji Yamada, 2010)

A declaration of love to Kyoto Uzumasa, site of the former film studios.  A fictional love triangle is masterfully interwoven into the daily lives of real shopkeepers on a real street.

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