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Snippets and Blogs Berlinale 2009
by Becky Tan

Despite the fact that The Messenger took the Silver Bear for the Best Script, the press conference with the director Oren Moverman and actors Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster was extremely disappointing. Although Moverman did a good job explaining this process as a Casualty Notification officer in the army, Harrelson seemed to be slow and vague in his answers. (SS)

I have read many classic novels during my time at school but somehow the German classics were avoided. This realization came to me during the Effi Briest film and it is surprising and a shame how many of the classics are not read worldwide.  I personally wouldn’t mind meeting my lover on these beautiful sand dunes where Effi Briest (Julia Jentsch) and her lover met. Juliane Kohler commented on how long it took her to dress and undress for each scene since they actually were strapped into the clothes of that time. (SS)

An image of a giant Nazi flag saving lives during WW2 used by naïve Nazi party member John Rabe captivated young director Floarian Gallenberger and compelled him to go through an enormous undertaking with the current Chinese government to receive permission to make the John Rabe film.  Now back in Hamburg I see a resurrection of John Rabe at least once a night on TV (SS)

Wow, watching a 70mm film “bigger than life” of Cleopatra at the beautiful International cinema was like going back into time. The Berlinale presented it in its traditional form, which began with a long musical score and then came this magnificent film. Much of the audience was disturbed by this and kept turning their heads towards the camera to see if it was broken without realizing that it was supposed to be that way.  How impatient the modern audience have become. The film was so big that you could see Elizabeth Taylor has a small scar on her throat and that she changed costume for every screen change, even her jewelry. (SS)

If you attend the Berlinale next year and want to be sure to see a good film, check out the 10 Jahre Panorama Publikumspreis category for a sure hit.  (SS)

In Yang Yang , director Cheng Yu-Chieh unintentionally succeeded in making the audience members dizzy and sick to their stomachs. Why? The hand-held camera had an unsteady hand holding it and the footage was too close up, out of focus and blurry. (SS)

The strangest coincidence was: in real life the mothers and fathers of the children who played the sister and brother in Mommo had the exact same first and last names even though they are not related to each other. (SS)

I learned that the Berlinale staff can organize interpreters for your interviews. (SS)

One of my favorite moments was eating dinner with Derek Malcolm from the Guardian and Yun Jong Suh, the producer of City of Borders. (SS)


“All we do reflects our political surroundings. Even Snow White is a political film, ” Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnian director and winner of the 2006 Berlinale Golden Bear with Grbavica.

“If you see coffins and think that’s good, then it’s a pro-war movie.” Director Oren Moverman, when asked if his film The Messenger was a pro-war movie.

“Art lovers are a more reliable income than art.”
“I can’t criticize his character because I don’t know if he has one.”
“Don’t you find that when the skin is less firm, it holds perfume so much better?”
“Being with someone for six years is like following someone to the colonies.  When you get back, you no longer know what to wear.”
“I dare say the divorce will be more fun than the wedding.” (from Cheri)

“Despite evidence to the contrary, teenagers are people.” Nick Hornby at the press conference for his film An Education.

My family originally came from Germany to Texas. My parents didn’t teach me German because they didn’t want me to have an accent, so ah ehnded uhp talking lik this.” (actor Rip Torn at the press conference for his film Happy Tears.)

“For somebody from NY you’re pretty stupid sometime.” (from My One and Only)

There’s too much sun in Los Angeles – it’s not depressing enough (George Hamilton for the film about his life, My one and Only)

Put up your hand if you liked the movie. (director Richard Loncraine at the press conference for his film My One and Only)

“The English don’t like effeminate women.” (Resident Alien)

“The world is such a mess only a magician can change it. “ (from Eden a l’Ouest)

“I have nothing to say any more. I’m outspoken.” (Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick on the last day of the Berlinale)

“I’ve done everything at the Berlinale so far except cleanup afterwards.” (Tilda Swinton, head of the jury.)

“Maybe Obama will clean up the language of rap song lyrics.”  (Press conference of Notorious B.I.G.)

“In my lifetime I’ve seen 100, if not 1000 unnecessary films.” (Film critic before the start of Notorious B.I.G.)