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Feb. 8th

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Falling in Love Again Marlene Dietrich

Dieter Kosslick
 
The tune and words of the ballad Falling in Love, which Marlene Dietrich sang with a full voice and an aching longing, every year evoke the atmosphere of the Berlinale in the weeks leading up to the event. Reading through the press releases I wait for the one note that will awaken the nostalgia of returning to Berlin again to sample the tableau of movies that Dieter Kosslick and his team amass from the four corners of the world, bringing to Berlin a multicultural potpourri that broadens the palate of the press, the industry and the core audience that travels from many cities far and wide in Germany to enjoy and 'taste' the Berlinale.

This year the note that struck the cord that reverberated in my senses was the introduction of NATIVe, the first showcase of indigenous films, A Journey into Indigenous Cinema, which begins with a territorial focus on films from Oceania, Australia, North America and the Arctic.

With the introduction of NATIVe, once again Dieter Kosslick and his team of programmers demonstrate their passion for film, and the depth of their knowledge, sensitivity and human empathy in sourcing and mixing the ingredients of a great feast of cinematic pleasure to launch the round of Festivals and Markets in 2013.

The Retrospective section never fails to ignite curiosity. This year's Retrospective, The Weimar Touch, illustrates how cinema from the Weimar Republic influenced international filmmaking after 1933.

Further stimulating the palate this year, the Retrospective includes the Berlinale Classics showcasing Cabaret (Director: Bob Fosse, USA 1972),
Dial M for Murder (Director: Alfred Hitchcock, USA 1954),
On the Waterfront (Director: Elia Kazan, USA 1954),
Der Student von Prag (The Student of Prague, Director: Hanns Heinz Ewers, Germany 1913), and
Tōkyō Monogatari (Tokyo Story, Director: Yasujirō Ozu, Japan 1953). All to be enjoyed on the BIG SCREEN! What joy!!

The Berlinale under the leadership of Dieter Kosslick continues to extend its embrace of both the world and the world of cinema. In 2004 Kosslick established The World Cinema Fund (WCF), an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlin International Film Festival funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media in cooperation with the Goethe Institute, with the support of the Federal Foreign Office, which is now secured till 2018.

In 2012 seven WCF films premiered at international film festivals including Fernando Guzzoni's Carne de Perro (Chile), which received the New Directors Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and Tres by Pablo Stoll (Uruguay), which premiered at Cannes before being screened at Munich, Toronto and Amsterdam. El Bella Vista by Alicia Cano (Uruguay) premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival and participated at San Sebastian, Chicago and Zurich. Turkish director Yessim Usataoglu showed Araf - Somewhere in Between at Venice, and I'm Going to Change my Name by Maria Saakyan from Armenia screened at the BFI London. Polvo by Julio Hernández Cordón (Guatemala) premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and later screened at Toronto, and Chilean director Esteban Larraín presented The Passion of Michelangelo in Rome.

In 2013 Dieter Kosslick and his team embrace Berlinale In Sendai to be held in Sendai City, Japan, a town in the Tohoku region that was severely damaged by the earthquakes and tsunami in March 2011. Supported by The Berlin International Film Festival, the event takes place from March 28 to 31. For Berlinale in Sendai, the Generation section is curating a program with two major emphases: films that entertain, and films that positively reflect the problematic living conditions of the region. The objective is to boost the moral of the inhabitants and those helping them to rebuild, as well as to give an impression of the reality in the affected area today.

The project is being organized by the Berlinale In Sendai Executive Office and supported by the inhabitants of Sendai. Countless volunteers and sponsors from all over Japan are backing the event. "Culture in all its diversity unites people around the globe," says Festival Director Dieter Kosslick. "We are pleased that a number of Berlinale highlights will be presented in Sendai in spring 2013. We would like to express our support and sympathy for the people of Tohoku, and, in particular, for the children who have suffered so greatly from the earthquakes and tsunami."

The Berlin Film Festival's ever evolving electric and diverse involvement in so many aspects of the filmmaking process and films made world wide, perhaps suggests a broad canvas that is intended to engender a philanthropic and altruistic approach to the population 'melting' pot that is Berlin.

Does Cinema Influence Society or Does Society Influence Cinema? Whatever the viewpoint, I see a Festival Director and his team making the best of the diversity that is 'cinema world wide', which without question has the support of the local German population.

 
 
 
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