Berlinale 2013 Impressions – Part One

This year tickets collection ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

Competition Section

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 Cรฉline. 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!

Panorama Section

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

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!

(To be continued…)

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