When the Berlinale Festival opened its 2017 edition, the world was at a standstill. Not because the world was not interested in artistic and cultural events, but because of the pandemic. The ‘Balkan spring’ of 1916, when it comes to new film releases, generally means the end of April to the end of May.
Whether you like it or not, the worlds of art and film have truly collided this year. The films themselves have not been restricted by the fear of infection, and so the cinematic delights that the festival has offered this year are numerous. From big-budget epics to small, personal character studies, here’s a list of everything that is available to stream and watch right now.
What is Berlinale?
Before we begin, it’s important to know exactly what the Berlinale is. Berlinale is one of the world’s greatest film festivals, regularly ranking in the top three of its kind. It was founded in the early 1920s, after the first worldwide pandemic (the ‘Spanish flu’) in 1920. It was one of the first film festivals in the world to allow screenings of independent and foreign films. That is not all that it offers, however. The festival is famous for organizing a whole array of world-class cultural events throughout the year. There are typically around 20 to 25 exhibitions and around 15 to 20 concerts. The 2020 edition will be the 75th anniversary of the festival. In addition to film, it is interested in theatre, art, and literature, and so on.
A Great Variety Of Films
It has always been one of the main attractions of the Berlinale that there is such a great variety of films to see. This year is no different. The festival’s 75th anniversary edition is not only celebrating film, but it is also highlighting the variety of films that the festival has to offer. It started with an opening night screening of Tom Tytuŭ’s Post-Pandemic Play (Odalisque), a classic example of a dystopian science fiction film. The following film, A Taxi Driver’s Love Story (Elle), won the festival’s top prize, the Golden Bear, in 1967 and starred Ingrid Bergman and Louis Malle.
There have been numerous other great films to grace the festival’s stage in the years since then. In 2020, audiences will have the chance to see the premiere of the highly anticipated Cleopatra, starring Felicity Jones, as well as David Robert Mitchell’s Black Swan.
From Hollywood To Independent & Foreign Films
Another thing that makes Berlinale special is the fact that it showcases a variety of independent films and foreign films. Up until now, it has regularly featured Hollywood blockbusters, but in the post-pandemic world, it has become an interesting choice for directors to make. A prime example is Spike Lee’s Shopping (2009), which took the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2009. Lee’s previous film 25th Street (1994), also made the list of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, so it is not too much of a surprise that his latest film is such a masterpiece. In fact, it is one of the greatest films of all time. It is also one of the few independent films to ever win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. More recently, other independent and foreign films have been taking the spotlight at the Berlinale. Turkish director Ziyad Ahmed’s The Cut (2019) premiered at the festival, as did the Japanese horror film Sole (2019).
One of the other major attractions of the Berlinale is the variety of cultural events that it hosts. It regularly commissions new works from prominent artists, which can then be performed by world-class performers at the festival. The 75th anniversary edition of the festival will no doubt continue this trend. In line with this, it will host the world premiere of John Kander and Julie Taylor’s La Servana, as well as the US premiere of Hans Zimmer’s Secret Theatre.
Get Set For A Grand Tour
If you’re visiting Berlin, then you might as well do something special with your time there. One of the great things about the Berlinale is that it regularly tours the local cinemas, which are some of the best in Germany. It is a great way to see a film that you might not normally get the chance to. So, if you’re in Berlin, then it is well worth going to a film festival, whether it is the Berlinale or any other. In addition to this, you could see a show, visit some galleries, or take a walk to find a delicious brunoise. All of these things could make for an interesting and exciting day in Berlin. It’s a good idea to make a to-do list of what you want to do, as it might not all be open yet when you return from the airport. One of the best things about the Berlinale is that it regularly opens doors for tourists. If you’re interested in a place that is rich in history and culture, then it would be a shame to not make the most of it. By all means, make the most of Germany’s most vibrant city. Who knows? You might even make a friend for life!