I was just back from my vacation in Indonesia, but instead of posting pictures from it, I felt like I needed to write something as an ode to Berlin. Remind myself that this city could be pretty too. (note: currently … Continue reading →
This year, I went to 11 movies and a lecture. Seven different venues, lots of running around (late and denied entry to one screening), and even more fun in the process. If you’re wondering how I get tickets and how I chose the movies, check my post about 5 Myths of Berlinale here.
I’m not sure I’ve said this before. What’s always great about watching a movie in Berlinale is when you get to be in the same room with the director / actors / crews. Not (just) because of bragging rights, but most importantly when you applaud in the end, you really feel like you’re showing them your appreciation. How much you love their work and really thankful for them producing such amazing movies! So, thank you!!
My impressions of the movies weren’t meant to be a critique, it was just thoughts I have after the movie and how I remembered them.
Yi dai zong shi (The Grandmaster) – D: Wong Kai Wai, C: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen
It’s a very beautiful piece of art, which makes up for the so so storyline. It’s a delight to see on a big screen and there are a couple of scenes that really stood out in my mind. During the fights, when instead of zooming in on the fight, the movie would zoom in on the effect of the fight on the surroundings. Like how it affects a certain water drop, etc. Very beautiful. Also I love Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi. Great choice to start the Berlinale.
Before Midnight – D: Richard Linklater, C: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
I love this series. Every 9 years they came out with a new movie following the life of the two main character, Jesse and Céline. The first one, Before Sunrise (1995), was the innocent, magical love story. Before Sunset (2004) was more of the realist, sort of sick of romance, and now comes Before Midnight. I don’t have kids, so sometimes I don’t get the jokes, but my friend who does, thinks it’s really spot on. It’s really a funny and honest movie about love and relationship and everything else going on in the world. So rare to see a good movie like this one. No action, just talking. I’m totally recommending this, even if it’s not your usual cup of tea… because it’s best of its kind.
Epizoda u zivotu beraca zeljeza (An Episode in the life of an Iron Picker) – D: Danis Tanovic, C: Senada Almanovic, Nazif Mujic
If you read my experience with pickpockets and angels in Paris, you know why I’m skeptical with Roma families. I knew I was being unfair and I wanted to have another perspective on them, and I thought the theme of this film would be good for that. I am really glad I went to see it! It such a sweet simple movie about this family who can’t afford the wife’s surgery. (spoiler: I said sweet because it has a happy ending). It’s very honest and real with all its problems and the love between all of them. Somehow it felt like you were invited into their house and experience their day to day life. You can’t help but love them too. Just because people didn’t show their love like you do, doesn’t mean they don’t love you!
This movie happens to win two Berlinale awards, the Silver Bear, as well! Nazif Mujic won best actor (Silver Bear) and the movie won Jury Grand Prix award. Recommended!
TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard – D: Simon Klose
It’s a documentary about the Pirate Bay founders, how they hold themselves against the court proceedings. It gives me a different perspective on their way of thinking and what was actually going on. The founders were not bad people. All they wanted to do was to make a platform where it’s easy for people to share files. This is my point of view: I don’t like to steal either, but isn’t there something wrong when those people convicted as the thief was living a modest life and the people they steal from rides in Mercedes and live in Millions of euros mansions? Does anyone really realize that the artist only get a tiny fraction of money compared to the middle man?
This documentary is also available on YouTube for free. Here it is:
If you would like to support the film makers and applaud them for their great work, please go to www.tpbafk.tv.
Something in the Way – D: Teddy Soeriaatmadja, C: Reza Rahadian, Ratu Felisha, Verdi Solaiman
I went to see this without expectations. I just wanted to support Indonesian filmmakers. I was really pleasantly surprised. The story itself isn’t that unique, it’s basically follows a guy-falls-in-love-with-a-girl-and-do-everything-to-get-her plot. The interesting thing about it is the contrasting view of the guy’s porn addiction and his daytime moral values, which happens to be a very religious one. What I like most is how it’s portraying the problem. I could feel that in Indonesia, people tends to lead a dual life somehow (at least I did). On the surface they are maintaining “good” moral values, and behind it, who knows. And it’s a constant battle between them.
The movie tends to be very candid with all the sex scenes, which is pretty cool for an Indonesian film. Also, I get to shake hands with the director and the casts. Hee… job well done guys!
Another year of Berlinale, another great time with the festival. Intense two weeks as usual. Organizing which movies I wanted to see, getting the tickets, running around town to get to the venues. It’s one of the reasons why I love living in Berlin!
This is my 5th time doing the Berlinale. (Yeah, I didn’t realize it’s been that long either… I just keep track from the bags.) I realized this year, there are some myths going around about this festival, which is kind of too bad because I think it’s a festival for all the movie goers in Berlin. So if you’ve been putting off it because of these myths, I hope you’ll rethink it next year!
1. It’s impossible to get tickets to Berlinale.
It could be hard, but it’s not impossible. Just like any other great events that needs tickets. Online tickets are almost impossible to get, that’s true (unless you’re used to this process of knowing exactly when to click buy). But luckily in Berlinale there are allocations of amounts for tickets sold on each venues. So, when one sold out, the others might still be available. Here’s how you can get them:
Online through www.berlinale.de. Toughest one to get, most convenient because you can just be in your pyjamas/office/warmth of a building. Extra 1.5 € charge per ticket.
Queuing at the pre-sale booth. Most chance to get one, depending on the day, you could queue up to 3-4 hours. It’s also a fun chance to bond with other movie goers (usually pensioners). If you really wanted a certain ticket, be there at least 1-2 hours before the booth opens (10am). There’s no extra charge per ticket, might be worth thinking if you’re getting more than 10 tickets.
Go to an eventim booth, usually called Konzertkasse and the likes. They have a limited allocation of tickets too. No lines, and usually still available after the other two options are sold out. They charge 2 € per ticket, and an extra 1-1.5 € for going at a person in a booth. Which is why I always avoid this option when possible.
At the cinema on the day of showing. If it’s a sold out movie, make sure you get there as early as possible. They do seem to have another different allocation for this, so there’s still hope.
Especially nearing the end of Berlinale, you could also find people selling their tickets. Most of them are actually selling it at a normal price. Usually they just realized they had conflicting time schedule or a friend of theirs cancelled out.
2. There are only arthouse movies.
Not true. There are plenty of great storytelling going on here. While it is true that it is not usually a place for big bang no brainer Hollywood blockbusters, that doesn’t mean the filmmakers are less great and entertaining. Also it gave me a certain satisfaction when I could actually see the filmmakers on stage, answering your questions. It made me root for the movie even more. Or perhaps getting a signed poster of the movie!
3. It’s overwhelming to look through the program.
Of course it is. There are around 400 movies showing this year, and to be honest I also never read all the programs. I know I run the risk of missing a couple of great movies, but we all only have limited time and resources . Some of my tips are:
Berlinale movies are divided into sections. Every section has their own characteristics, for instance, the Generation would be movies for the younger audience from 4-17 years old. Usually there’s lots of fun movies there from all over the world. If you’re into the high profile ones, definitely check out the Competition section. Or documentary, and so on.
Go through countries section. I’m always interested in movies from Southeast Asia or Japan, because it’s quite rare to find them in local cinemas. I also somehow tend to like Italian, Swedish, and Norwegian movies, so I could just go and filter by country.
Or if you have only a certain time you can go, then look for the timetable and which movies are available for the time slot.
Do register and make use of their time planner. It’s a very useful tool for planning your schedule. And remember to allocate time running from one venue to another.
If you’re indecisive, you can also go to the Publikumpreise section where they will show a winning movie from the festival.
4. Languages are only in French/English/German.
As you see from my note before, this is actually a great place to find film from all over the world. As an Indonesian living in Berlin, I always love to see Indonesian movies and how the audience perceived them. There’s always nuances that you think was normal and people would see it as very bizarre. Also if you don’t speak German, don’t worry, there’s a lot of movies with English subs as well. Do look for the subtitle notes though!
5. Everyone dies in the end.
While there is a saying that you haven’t really been to Berlinale if you haven’t seen a truly depressing movie there, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. True, Berlin in February is a great backdrop for such things, but if you do a bit of research on the synopsis, you could definitely avoid it.
Again, the Generation section is full of delightful stuff. Trust your instinct, if you like the synopsis and the pictures, go for it. Sometimes if you’re unlucky and still get to such movie, just enjoy it, at least you’ve been to a true Berlinale movie. Besides, we are all going to die in the end. If it doesn’t justify the ending, then it’s the storyteller’s fault .
Signed movie poster by the director, Saschka Unseld. Thank you <3