Berlin 09: The View From Not There!
Posted on Saturday February 7, 2009, 20:03 by Damon Wise
Well, the festival opened on Thursday with another controversial choice. I love Berlin and I love the festival but I find the programming somewhat baffling and, for a journalist, it's a pretty difficult event to turn a profit on it, quite frankly. When Dieter Kosslick took over, I really thought it would make the festival much younger and more exciting than it had been under Moritz De Hadeln, but it seems more excitement spills out from the market and the Talent Campus than the festival itself. Many people don't understand why I enjoy Sundance so much, but, even when the films are bad (and they often are) there's a genuine sense of enthusiasm; most of the people you meet (even the LA types) are usually either coming from a movie or heading to (at least) one, and there's a lot of curiosity about the films you have and haven't seen. With Berlin, though, there's often a sense of dread that pervades the journalistic contingent, and this year's choice of Tom Tykwer's The International (above), starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, as the opening film does not bode well. I haven't seen it myself, but the reviews have been scathing. Ian Nathan gave it two stars in this month's Empire, and you can see from Shane Danielsen's review from IndieWire, Mark Rabinowitz's review from The Rabbi Repor, Stephen Dalton's review in The Times, and Finn Halligan's review in Screen International that the press are not impressed...
In the meantime, the wheels are still turning on Quentin Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds, which is shooting in and around Berlin. Sebastian Haselbeck from Tarantino Archives has written a nice account here of his set visit. It should keep you entertained until I finally write mine!