SHARE
COPY LINK

NAZI

Berlinale: Diversity and Nazi past in spotlight at 70th Berlin film festival

Diversity, politics and revelations from the Nazi era will dominate the agenda when the Berlin film festival launches its 70th edition in the heart of the German capital this Thursday.

Berlinale: Diversity and Nazi past in spotlight at 70th Berlin film festival
Film lovers queuing for tickets for the Berlinale on Monday. Photo: DPA

One of Europe's biggest cinema events alongside Cannes and Venice, the Berlinale will this year showcase female directors and political films from across the globe while also confronting hard truths about its own murky history.

Following furious debate in Hollywood about the dominance of white and male nominees at recent award shows, the Berlinale's new directors have claimed the 11-day festival will represent the “diversity” of cinema.

“My goal is to ensure a platform for the films. We want to give room to diversity,” said co-director Carlo Chatrian.

“I don't say that we are presenting perfect films… but films that represent cinema in its diversity.”

New chiefs Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek take charge of the festival for the first time this year, after former boss Dieter Kosslick ended an 18-year spell at the helm in 2019.

Last year, Kosslick signed a “50/50” pledge to commit the festival to gender parity in future, calling for transparency in selection and an even gender ratio in top management.

At a recent press conference, Rissenbeek pointed out that the majority of section directors were now women after a reorganisation of the festival structure.

READ ALSO: Seven events you won't want to miss in Germany in February

Berlinale bosses Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek. Photo: DPA

Yet only six of the 18 films in the running for this year's “Golden Bear” are directed by women, one fewer than in 2019.

They include British director Sally Potter's “The Roads Not Taken”, starring Javier Bardem and Salma Hayek, and “First Cow” by US indie director Kelly Reichardt.

A number of high-profile female figures are also set to grace the red carpet this year.

British Oscar winner Helen Mirren will receive a lifetime achievement award, while former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is set to appear for a five-part documentary on her life.

Nazi skeletons

Chatrian has warned against “stamping” the Berlinale as a political event, yet politics will be front and centre in the 70th edition.

The anniversary has already been overshadowed by revelations that Alfred Bauer, the Berlinale's founding director, was a high-ranking Nazi.

The prestigious Alfred Bauer prize, previously won by the likes of Baz Luhrmann, was suspended after an investigation by newspaper Die Zeit highlighted Bauer's standing in the Nazi party.

Alfred Bauer and actress Shirley Maclaine at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport in 1971. Photo: DPA

On Tuesday, festival organisers announced they had commissioned the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) to investigate Bauer's role in the Hitler regime.

Political films

The festival programme also includes a wealth of politically charged films.

Controversial Russian artistic project DAU will make its first appearance in Berlin since its 2018 plan to reconstruct the Berlin Wall in the heart of the German capital was thwarted by city authorities.

Two DAU films will be shown at the Berlinale with one, DAU Natasha, among those in competition.

READ ALSO: British actor Jeremy Irons to head 2020 Berlin Film Festival jury

Also in the running for the Golden Bear are “There Is No Evil” by Mohammad Rasoulof, an Iranian director currently unable to leave his home country, and Rithy Panh's “Irradiated”, a work on remembrance of the Cambodian genocide.

Brazilian director Caetano Gotardo's film about slavery “All the Dead Ones” is also up for the main prize, amid anger in Brazil over President Jair Bolsonaro's slashing of state support for the film industry.

Festival director Chatrian denied that the selection of Brazilian films was a rebuke to Bolsonaro, but said that “many filmmakers in Brazil are afraid of the cuts”.

This year's competition will be judged an international jury which is headed by British Oscar winner Jeremy Irons and also includes French-Argentine star Berenice Bejo.

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Saturday, February 29th.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CULTURE

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

The holiday of Diwali kicks off on Monday. Here's where you can celebrate all around Germany.

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

With over 100,000 Indians in Germany, and over 175,000 people of Indian descent, it’s little wonder that Diwali – the famous five day Hindi festival of lights starting this year on Monday October 24th – is being celebrated all around the Bundesrepublik

READ ALSO: Indians in Germany: Who are they and where do they live?

Even the House of Parliament in Frankfurt is honouring the holiday for the first time with a special reception on October 30th.

Diwali takes its name from the clay lamps or deepa (the event is sometimes called Deepawali) that many Indians light outside their home. With the days shortening in Germany, there’s all the more reason to celebrate light — especially over lively music, traditional dance and authentically spicy Indian cuisine.

We have rounded up some of the top events to celebrate around Germany, both the week of Diwali and afterwards, stretching into mid-November. If you have an additional event to suggest, email us at [email protected]

October 24th in Heidelberg

Happen to be in Heidelberg? Then it’s not too late to head to the Sweet Home Project, which will be cooking up a storm starting at 6:30pm. The menu includes an assortment of Indian sweets and savoury dishes. The collective only asks that participants bring along a candle (and a hearty appetite).

If you miss this event, and are still craving some (really) spicy traditional cuisine, the Firebowl Heidelberg is hosting a Diwali party on October 29th, replete with lots of food and drink and Bollywood beats the whole night. 

October 29th near Frankfurt

For those who fancy a Feier with a full-buffet, this celebration in Dreieich delivers through an all-you-can-eat dinner with traditional fare. Starting at 5pm and stretching into the early hours of the morning, the festive feast includes traditional Bollywood music by Derrick Linco. There’s also a dance party for kids, who receive free admission up to seven years old and €25 up to 14 years. Normal tickets go for €40 per person.

A previous Diwali celebration of traditional dance and music in Dresden. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

November 4th near Düsseldorf

On November 4th at 6pm, the Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft Düsseldorf will be hosting a family-friendly party in nearby Ratingen with classical Indian music and dance, a huge dinner and Bollywood music led by DJ SA-ONE. Tickets cost about €40 each, but children under six receive free entry. 

November 5th in Bonn 

The Indian Students Association of Bonn-Cologne will be hosting its biggest event of the year: for €10, event goers can try an array of Indian food, play classic games and tune into cultural performances. 

READ ALSO: Moving from India to Munich changed my life

November 12th in Essen 

Whether you like traditional bhajans or meditative ragas, this concert will capture many of the classic sounds of Indian music with artists such as Anubhab Tabla Ensemble, Debasish Bhattacharjee and Somnath Karmorak taking center stage. The performance starts at 5pm and costs €10. 

November 12th and 13th in Berlin

Indian food fans will get to enjoy 12 stands devoted to Indian cuisine and products, all coming from the local Indian community. The weekend-long festival will also include stand-up comedy from the Desi Vibes Comedy Group. Karaoke fans will also enjoy singing along with the Sounds of India group, followed by an after party on Saturday. All this only costs €2 at the door. 

SHOW COMMENTS