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Three-Star Filmfest
by Jenny Mather

It isn’t fair to sum up the entire Fimfest based only on eight movies, my choice was limited owing to work commitments and so I saw six over the weekend and two in the early evenings. Even so, my impression was that there was less interest in this year’s Filmfest than in the previous two I’ve attended. Only three of us watched a Saturday lunchtime movie, for example, and I never ever saw anybody making use of the critics lounge at UFA-Palast Grindel. Perhaps the bright pink cushions provided by Deutsche Telecom were too strident for reflective thought. Last year we enjoyed tea provided by the Samovar company at a nominal fee, but that wasn’t in evidence this time.

Opening night last year was a glittering affair, with a home-grown German film being shown, complete with its director and four leading actors (and well worth gate-crashing, albeit unintentionally). This year only one of our group was invited to the films shown on opening day. And to cap it all, Gerard Depardieu couldn’t or wouldn’t come to Hamburg to receive the Douglas-Sirk prize.

Oh and the movies? In the past I have enjoyed low-budget movies from around the world, providing an insight into other lives and other cultures which I still think about today. This time only two keep popping into my thoughts, Sounds of Silence and Since You’ve Been Gone, both of which are documentaries. Still, two out of eight isn’t bad and will surely be bettered next year.