Berlin has an array of cultural venues which makes it easy to take a break from films during the International Film Festival in Berlin. Many of the celebrities who come to the city with a film make it clear that sight-seeing and shopping are also on their Berlinale agenda. This year Cate Blanchett brought her children because she wanted to explore the museums with them as a family. Many international festival attendees take the opportunity to explore the city even if they have little time from their festival duties.
Every year, I break up my festival stay to view something other than film. My Berlinale adventure for 2007 included a visit to an art exhibit and the Kennedy Museum. Both venues were a 15-minute walk (in opposite directions) from the main festival neighborhood of Potsdamer Platz and conveniently a 10-minute walk from my hotel.
The Mika Ninagawa art exhibit was sponsored by Arndt & Partner and organized by the Tomio Koyama Gallery of Japan. The exhibit ran during the 57th International Film Festival in Berlin. I received an invitation to the vernissage when I attended the press screening for the competition film Sakuran. The moderator opening the film mentioned that Sakuran was directed by Japan’s most popular photographer, Mika Ninagawa, and it was her first feature film. The subject matter was not easy to watch but I was impressed with the cinematography which captured my interest in her work both on and off the screen. The added surprise of her presence at the screening to explain her film was a delightful experience. In addition to this fascinating event my colleague, Becky Tan, and I viewed her photography in the gallery of Arndt and Partner. Ninagawa displayed many of her vivid visuals and incongruous forms of photography from the film Sakuran, as well as her trademark stills of goldfish and flowers. For further information, please have a look at her website: www.ninamika.com.
The Kennedy Museum located on the square just inside the Brandenburg Gate is home to a collection of over 300 photographs, original film footage and personal Kennedy memorabilia. The collection is owned by Berlin’s Camera Work AG and returned in 2006 after showing in European cities like Rome and Berlin. The traveling show had great success so the company decided to find a permanent residence for the revered works. Their visual story of John and Jackie Kennedy’s 1000 days in the White House show a content and happy lifestyle, the Camelot era. President Kennedy was the first politician to use a personal photographer to make his private life public. The American’s adored the youthful family and bought into his new idea of politics hook, line and sinker. The Germans were also intrigued with the Kennedy’s but it wasn’t until President Kennedy came to Berlin in 1963, on an eight-hour, whirlwind tour, that their hearts were won over with his command of integrity. They were enthralled how he effectively communicated to an audience of 120,000 Germans the idea behind some of his most beloved words (even though grammatically incorrect), “Ich bin ein Berliner”. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be a jelly-filled donut, but if that is your fancy, you will be happy to know that the museum is located just around the corner from Dunkin’ Donuts. Enjoy! www.thekennedys.de