Berlinale Update

I’ve been pretty swamped lately. We’ve been waking up at 4:30am every morning to get to the accreditation office at 6am to get our tickets. However, most days, our films end at around 12am and thus we end up getting home at around almost 1am. Today I tried REALLY hard to stay awake in my two workshops. I did doze off quite a few times and I was a bit annoyed with that. I ended up having to miss 52 Tuesdays, a film that I had been looking forward to. I gave the ticket to my roommate instead and I shall catch it on a later date.

We’ve managed to get quite lucky with our films because we kept accidentally grabbing the tickets for the premieres and thus, we got to see quite a few famous faces.

The first film we saw was The Grand Budapest Hotel which was absolutely wonderful!

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But honestly, it’s Wes Anderson. I was so fascinated by the cinematography. It’s typical Wes Anderson style and he uses the same DOP for every film so it was bound to be stunning. There were some REALLY outstanding shots, such as the prison scene and some of the chase scenes. It was a surrealistic world but it was believable to the audience which is very important. At the hands of another Director, it might have become a bit too absurd. In the end, Wes Anderson and Bill Murray came on stage to greet us which was a nice send off from the film. I would also like to comment that Wes Anderson looks REALLY young and I nearly freaked out til I found out he was 44.

The next film we caught was American Hustle.

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I didn’t really expect much and so I enjoyed it. It’s a typical Hollywood film with plot that lacked substance. It fell a bit flat in the end because there was no real justice being served. It became a happily-ever-after ending which was a bit frustrating for me. They could have raised the stakes and taken more of a risk but instead they decided to play it safe. I heard that in the original script, Jennifer Lawrence’s character was supposed to kill herself which I felt would have made more sense and would have given the other characters more conflict to deal with. I have to say though, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams killed it. Their performances outshone the men by a LOT. There were a lot of German celebrities sitting in the audience. Everyone went crazy when Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, David O’Russell and the producers came in. They even gave us a greeting after the film which was nice. I would have preferred to see Jennifer Lawrence or Amy Adams instead though.

The next film we saw was a German film called Hüter meines Bruders (My Brother’s Keeper).

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It was SO good. I think it is my favorite film from the festival so far. The film is about two brothers, Gregor and Pietschi. Gregor lives the perfect life, he has a good job as a doctor, he has a loving wife and good friends. His brother on the other hand is a wild child, partying and sleeping around. Pietschi disappears with some girl during a sailing trip and Gregor digs around to find out more about his brother’s life while trying to find him and starts taking on his brother’s personality and lifestyle, including sleeping with his ex-girlfriend.

The acting was very natural and spot on. There wasn’t a lot of dialogue so the performances were really important. The cinematography.. oh. my. goodness. It was unbelievable. Some of the shots looked like paintings. I had to stop myself from screaming from how much I loved the shots. There were a lot of flashbacks and the sex scene was really eerie but well done. I urge everyone to see it if they can. The ending was ambiguous as we never find out what happened to Pietschi, whether he is even still alive. While a part of me really wants to know, I feel that it ended perfectly. It was also the debut film of the Director and he’s ONLY 35. This film is the type of film I want to make. PS: I REALLY REALLY hope that it comes out on DVD because I would be all over that.

Besides those films, I have caught a bunch of workshops and short films. I was less than impressed by many of the short films and now we’re all wondering what our tutors want from us. The short films did everything that our tutors told us NOT to do which is very frustrating because these films made it into a film competition in one of the biggest film festivals in Europe. If we did these films and showed it to our tutors, we would be completely ripped apart. It’s a bit frustrating and very confusing.

Here’s my schedule for the rest of the week:

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I am so excited to lineup.

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