The golden bear is loose, and your only escape is the big screen. What that is supposed to mean? Well, it’s Berlinale again, from February 11 to 21. The festival program is finally available and slowly but surely the city streets start to feel like a red carpet. We from Industriepalast Hostel have put together all you need to know about the biggest German film festival:
Berlin nails what?
Berlin International Film Festival, or, in short, Berlinale, is one of the biggest and most important film festivals in the world. In 2016 the German capital thus invites filmmakers from all around the globe to its cinema halls for the 66th time, and they are bringing more than 400 new exciting films. Highlight, of course, is the awarding of the Golden Bear for the best picture. An international jury, put together exclusively for this year’s festival, resides over the decision. Actress and living legend Meryl Streep will be the head of the jury, accompanied by stars like Clive Owen and German actor Lars Eidinger, Berlin’s version of an it-boy. Besides the competing films, a number of exciting productions will be shown out of competition. Furthermore, several special festival branches will focus on specific cinematic fields, like the Perspective German Film or the Panorama of independent and underground pictures.
What’s special about Berlinale is that you yourself can be right in the middle of it. For the Berlin International Film Festival is actually the world’s largest public film festival, you and about 300.000 other visitors can be close to the action.
What to watch
The program booklet has many pages and with over 400 films to choose from you might be getting a little lost. Still, there are a few highlights that you should have at least heard of. For instance Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brother’s newest flick and this year’s opening movie. It’s not in the competition though, and neither is Michael Grandage’s Genius, featuring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, and Jude Law. Still, the cast alone makes it worth checking out. Within the competition, all eyes will be on the most promising German entry: 24 Wochen is a touching drama film about pregnancy, disability, and the issue of abortion starring Julia Jentsch and Bjarne Mädel. Many critics see Alone in Berlin, a film adaption of the Hans Fallada novel featuring Emma Thompson and Daniel Brühl, as a possible candidate for the awards. It might be an international co-production, but it sure is linked to Berlin. It is really worth it checking out the less popular films by independent filmmakers as well though, for Berlinale is always good for a surprise. Need an example? How about last year’s unexpected hit Victoria?
Close to the action
It might get a bit crowded on the red carpet this year, for never before so many international stars have announced their appearance on February 11 and beyond. Among others, George Clooney, Emma Thompson, Jude Law, Channing Tatum, Gérard Departieu, and Tilda Swinton will be there, not to mention jury members Clive Owen and, of course, Meryl Streep. If you arrive in time you might be able to conquer a place next to the red carpet and might end up getting an actual selfie with a celebrity.
Where and when?
Berlinale 2016 will be hosted by no less than 32 venues throughout the entire city, among them both glamorous institutions like Zoo Palace and Cinestar at Sony Center and smaller, independent cinemas. You can purchase tickets for all public screening only three days in advance and exclusively at the ticket booths. The entire program and all information concerning ticket sales are online at www.berlinale.de.
See you at the pictures,
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.