Berlinale: the tribute to Scorsese and a controversy that does not end

Berlinale: the tribute to Scorsese and a controversy that does not end

Berlin — Martin Scorsese received the honorary Golden Bear for his artistic career last night during a warm ceremony at the Berlinale Palast. It was given to him by Wim Wenders, with whom he had a long friendship. since they met in Los Angeles and New York in the early eighties. They were both visibly moved.

A few hours earlier, Scorsese entertained the press with anecdotes and reminiscences of that important moment that was the New American Cinema, independent and oppositional, in the seventies. He quoted all of his friends by first name: Francis (Coppola), Brian (De Palma), Steven (Spielberg), John (Milius), Jay (Cox), whom he highlighted as cinephiles, and the origin of his interest in the restoration of classic or forgotten works, through the Film Foundation that he founded in 1990. He highlighted the function of film critics today: to be a guide for viewers, overwhelmed by the hyperabundance of “content”. “Criticism helps you focus and concentrate on what you consider valuable, guiding new generations,” he said.

At 81 years old, he also advised do not let yourself be scared by digital technologies; The key, he recalled, is to preserve the voice of the narrator; remembering that in the young history of the medium (barely one hundred and thirty years), cinema adapted to changes that at the time seemed to divert its trajectory, such as the arrival of sound. He passionately expanded on aesthetic issues, proposing the questions for which each film seeks a concrete answer: what should a shot include, and how long should it last? He highlighted with enthusiasm and examples from the documentary “Made in England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger”, which he came to present at the Berlinale, the power of the audiovisual image.

For a moment, the press conference became a practical film class. He ended the interview by talking about the Italian-American atmosphere of the Lower East Side that marked him as a filmmaker, and also about his meeting with Pope Francis when the Vatican invited him to screen “Silence” (2016), about Jesuit martyrs in Japan in the seventeenth century. Take seriously, he added, the Pope’s request: to refresh the way of presenting Christianity. “I am working on it“, said “now that I finished Killers of the Flower Moon”.

Few Argentines

The Argentine presence is lean this year. In the Encounters section, a sort of catch-all where iconoclastic or experimental works are shown, our compatriot Matías Piñeiro – now a film professor in New York – presented “Tú me abrasas”. The audience for this type of film is inherently limited, as are its exhibition channels – museums, cinematheques, art shows.

In this case, the limitation comes from the execution itself: Piñeiro proposes to adapt the chapter “Sea foam” from the book of essays Cesare Pavese (1908-1950) “Dialogues with Leuco”, an imaginary conversation between the poet Sappho and the nymph Britomartis. But what actually happens is that Piñeiro – also the author of the script – He talks about himself, not about Pavese or these Greek girls. The result is rather a cinematographic essay – that genre halfway between fiction and documentary – of which this Argentine-Spanish production is a washed-out sample.

This edition of the Berlinale will be the last one directed by Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek, appointed in 2020, the year before the pandemic. Both made the decision to resign from artistic and administrative direction respectively as they did not coincide with the expectations of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the German government, the body that provides funds to the festival. The conflict, handled with education and good manners as it has emerged, is classic in a country when the three players involved in cinema – the State, the political party in government and the artistic activity in need of financial support – do not align well.

This is the case of Incaa in our country following the change of government: how much should/can the state subsidize film production? And what kind of films, and who determines the policy of subsidies and promotions? In the case of the Berlinale, what degree of political independence does the festival have with respect to the state body that finances it and that responds to official cultural directives? A The triggering issue was the invitation and subsequent disinvitation to the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland by the Berlinale to the opening of the festival.. The Ministry of Culture, which governs all Germans, as he recalled, insisted on the invitation and the co-directors did not accept the imposition. Since 1985 – the year in which this journalist came for the first time to cover the Berlinale to Financial sphere– until 2020 there were only two directors, Moritz de Hadeln and Dietrich Kosslick. The diplomacy they must have had to practice.


The Competition continues to be varied and interesting. The international jury, chaired by the actress and producer Lupita Nyong’O, will consider very dissimilar works in genre and structure when awarding the awards, which are not few considering that only twenty films are in competition. The most notable for the use of cinematographic language in the articulation of their political themes are the following three: the experimental documentary “Architect”a Franco-German co-production directed by the Russian Viktor Kossalovsky, explores earthquakes, cement and classical architecture; They are disparate themes only in appearance, and they produce an impact similar to “Koyaanisqatsi” (1982), the North American documentary about a world in ecological chaos.

The other two are “The Traveler’s Needs”, a work by Korean Hong Sangsoo, bases its aesthetic impact on the development of three conversations in Seoul (two are repeated) between a Frenchwoman out of her element, played by Isabelle Huppert, and four middle-class Koreans; drained of dramatic action, opaque in terms of motivations, but that captures national essences in a surprising way, and finally “Black Tea”from the Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissakosurprises with an elegant twist and a chronological puzzle, announcing without ideological or racial stridency that Africans are citizens of the world.

Source: Ambito

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