Film festivals exist to bridge the gap between mainstream cinema and arthouse cinema, according to the Berlinale competition juror and drive my car director Ryusuke Hamaguchi.
“In past history, there was no gap between [mainstream and arthouse films]said Hamaguchi, speaking through a translator at the opening press conference on the first day of the festival. “The role of the Berlinale is to declare that there is no gap. It might look like an arthouse film, but it might have a commercial aspect. drive my car received four Oscar nominations earlier this week.
“I live in the center with loves on both sides,” jury president M. Night Shyamalan said of his own work. “When you make a commercial film, the storytellers fully recognize the audience – the taxi driver, the doorman who has paid and entered. When they leave the room, they are not necessarily changed – they have been seen, and c ‘is beautiful .
“On the other hand, independent cinema is a very specific person’s view of the world. The beautiful thing is that you see a new perspective on the world – you come out of cinema and you have changed. J I always hoped that you could see me a little and that I would see you.
Hamaguchi said the festival sent a “message” by choosing Shyamalan to head the jury, as his films are “a perfect blend of independent and conventional”.
Danish actress Connie Nielsen, who has appeared in studio films such as Gladiator and wonder woman, said blockbusters have a role to play in getting audiences interested in arthouses. “Mainstream cinema is a hugely important step in getting people interested in more singular voices as well,” Nielsen said. “For actors, it’s great for us to be in big blockbusters, with the hope that when you also make films that are less accessible and seek pleasure as an audience experience, audiences will follow you.”
Jury member Karim Ainouz, who has screened at the Berlinale several times, acknowledged how “liberating” it is “that certain films that have not been celebrated by the general public can now be celebrated”. He also issued a caveat, saying, “The role of the festival is to shed light on things that won’t pass to mainstream audiences, but can help these filmmakers continue to work and develop their own calligraphy.”
Although it took place at its usual location at the Grand Hyatt Berlin, it was a different opening conference than usual. All members of the press were required to pre-book individual seats, with a gap of only one seat between each.
All journalists present were required to present a negative lateral flow test within the past 24 hours to receive the daily wristband required for entry. The queue for the daily tests on the buses at the stop outside was pushing 30 minutes at the start of the conference, plus a 20-minute wait to receive the result. The jury did not wear masks; but unlike Cannes, reporters kept masks on when asking questions. That didn’t seem to dampen the mood in the room among the press, who complied with security measures throughout; although attendance was about 75% of what it could have been, even accounting for staggered seating.
Hamaguchi also paid tribute to Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrian, who ran the Locarno Film Festival in 2015 when he presented the Japanese director prize. happy hour with a special mention and the prize for best actress. “The Berlinale is a very well thought out event,” said the director. “There is also a very human warmth, given the circumstances.”
The jurors also noted formative films in their cinema apprenticeship, with Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangaremba choosing To sir with love with Sidney Poitier; Shyamalan narrating a full showing of The Raiders of the Lost Ark where the couple sitting next to him bought him popcorn because he looked so nervous; and Ainouz mentioned how he puts a dance scene in each of his films due to “John Travolta’s joy” in Saturday night fever.