The personal is political

The personal is political was the powerful motto of the 69th Berlinale, with outgoing festival director Dieter Kosslick borrowing it from the 1960s feminist movement. The breakup of traditional family structures, childhood, gender equality and nutrition represented the key themes that were woven through the festival’s programme and its competition.

Already before the grand opening Kosslick made headlines by following the festivals in Venice, Cannes, Locarno and Sarajevo in signing the Gender Parity Pledge. The pledge commits to an even gender ratio in festival management, and improving transparency around selection processes by publicly listing the members of its selection and programming committees.

Although the pledge does not directly include mandatory quotas for female directors, out of the the 400 films screened at the 69th Berlinale, 191 or almost half were indeed directed by women. This is surely a significant achievement when compared with recent editions of the other major European film festivals.

 

I am not afraid of what the future of the Berlinale will be. It is a very strong festival. [But] it’s good to have new ideas coming in.

Diether Kosslick
screendaily.com

He has made it a party. And that is a really rare and wonderful thing. And I think that a festival director who can make a party for 18 years in the way that he has is to be cherished.

Tilda Swinton
about Diether Kosslick and the Berlinale

 

My personal highlights of this year’s Berlinale were LIGHT OF MY LIFE (a post-apocalyptic drama about a father that needs to protect his child at all costs), SKIN (an intense film about a notorious white supremacist that wants to quit the far-right scene), VICE (a bitter satire about Dick Cheney’s rise to power as one of the most influential US Vice Presidents of all time), the German competition entry SYSTEMSPRENGER (an impressive directorial debut about a ‘difficult’ child searching for love and security), the documentary SCHÖNHEIT & VERGÄNGLICHKEIT (a portrait of photographer and notorious Berghain bouncer Sven Marquardt) and THE SOUVENIR (Joanna Hogg’s semi-autobiographical drama about a young film student).

Here is a comprehensive list of the movies I had the opportunity to see during the festival. Go get inspired, watch them all if you find them screening near you!

COMPETITION

ICH WAR ZUHAUSE, ABER / I WAS AT HOME, BUT – Silver Bear for Best Director
by Angela Schanelec (Germany / Serbia)

LA PARANZA DEI BAMBINI / PIRANHAS – Silver Bear for Best Screenplay
by Claudio Giovannesi (Italy)

L’ADIEU À LA NUIT / FAREWELL TO THE NIGHT (Out of Competition)
by André Téchiné (France / Germany)

MR. JONES
by Agnieszka Holland (Poland / UK / Ukraine)

SYNONYMES / SYNONYMSGolden Bear for Best Film & Prize of the Fipresci Jury
by Nadav Lapid (France / Israel / Germany)

SYSTEMSPRENGER / SYSTEM CRASHERSilver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize
by Nora Fingscheidt (Germany)

THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
by Lone Scherfig (Denmark / Canada / Sweden / Germany / France)

THE OPERATIVE
by Yuval Adler (Germany / Israel / France)

VICE (Out of Competition)
by Adam McKay (USA)

PANORAMA

A DOG BARKING AT THE MOON – TEDDY Special Jury Award
by Xiang Zi (China / Spain)

A DOG CALLED MONEY
by Seamus Murphy (UK)

BUOYANCY – Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
by Rodd Rathjen (Australia)

DIVINO AMOR / DIVINE LOVE
by Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil / Uruguay / Chile / Denmark / Norway / Sweden)

KISLOTA / ACID 
by Alexander Gorchilin (Russia)

LIGHT OF MY LIFE
by Caey Affleck (USA)

ŠAVOVI / STITCHES
by Miroslav Terzić (Serbia / Slovenia / Croatia / Bosnia and Herzegovina)

SCHÖNHEIT & VERGÄNGLICHKEIT / BEAUTY & DECAYHeiner Carow Prize
by Annekatrin Hendel (Germany)

SKIN
by Guy Nattiv (USA)

THE SOUVENIR
by Joanna Hoegg (UK)

TO THÁVMA TIS THÁLASSAS TON SARGASSÓN / THE MIRCALE OF THE SARGASSO SEA
by Syllas Tzoumerkas (Greece / Germany / Netherlands / Sweden)

WOO SANG / IDOL
by Lee Su-jin (South Korea)

The next year will bring some major changes to the Berlinale: The 70th edition will be the first one under the artistic direction of Carlo Chatrian. Naturally you should brace yourself for an exciting edition. The festival will also move to late February, landing after the BAFTA and Oscar ceremonies. It will take place from 20th February to 01st March 2020.

Save the date and watch out for updates on next year’s festival on berlinale.de.