Magazine article Variety

Global Issues, Politics Play out in Festival Pics

Magazine article Variety

Global Issues, Politics Play out in Festival Pics

Article excerpt

Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick weighs in on elections, security concerns, art, and food

Taking place two months after a terrorist attack in Berlin and at the dawn of a new political era for the U.S, this year's Berlin Film Festival could turn out to be one of the most politically charged in years. The failure of capitalism is one prominent motif. Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick discusses social and political themes, the challenges of ensuring maximum security and the sale of Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, home to the Berlinale. He also offers his thoughts on President Trump and Meryl Streep.

How would you describe the main themes running through this year's films? The subject of immigration and refugees seem to be integral to Etienne Comar's opening film "Django" and Aki Kaurismaki's "The Other Side of Hope."

It's very interesting - many filmmakers are focusing on history and are trying to explain why things are the way they are today from a historical perspective. One example is "Viceroy's House" the story of India's independence 70 years ago and how the British left the country - socially devastated. They produced millions of refugees by relocating people in India and Pakistan in an effort to hinder the conflict between Muslims and Hindus. About a million people died during the relocation. The director, Gurinder Chadha, who made "Bend It Like Beckham" has made an epic film with both a great European aesthetic and elements of Bollywood.

Another historical film in Panorama, "The King's Choice," from Erik Poppe, is about the German invasion of Norway. There's a second thread running through the festival with films like the Berlinale Special entries "Last Days in Havana" by Fernando Pérez, which deals with finality, and Raoul Peck's "The Young Karl Marx" about the world that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote about when they were in London and the brutal capitalism of the time. Now, more than 150 years after his masterpiece "Das Kapital" you see the result, that capitalism has failed. We see that in the devastating portrait of an African country in Alain Gomis' "Felicité" - a wonderful love story, but set in a nation that is completely destroyed and only exploited. The colonial lords have been replaced by investors. It's not just capitalism that has failed - communism has also failed, as we see in a number of films from Eastern Europe.

This year's Berlinale takes place just two months after the terrorist attack in Berlin. What effect do you expect it will have on the festival?

It's unfortunately not the first time. Last year the Berlinale took place just a couple of weeks after [the] Paris [attack]. We were in the same situation, asking ourselves what we should do. How high should security be? It has to be the maximum of what we can do and that is what we will again do. There may be other measures. We are working very closely with the police. We don't want a military situation, but we will definitely have the maximum security. We have an entire department devoted solely to security. Trade visitors have not been scared away. We already have more accreditations than last year and the market is sold out and overbooked. No one has canceled.

"Logan" is screening out of competition, one of the few comic-book adaptations to screen in Berlin since "300" in 2007.

Yes, Hugh Jackman will be here. The film is grandiose. Jackman gives a fantastic performance. James Mangold has made an incredible picture that leaves you astonished on different levels. …

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