Are film festivals worth it?

After watching five movies at the Berlinale this year, I already feel a bit jaded. This doesn't really help as I have eight more movies lined up to watch before Sunday, which will be quite the Herculean task for someone who has lost the habit of going to the kino. Having the luxury of curating my own viewing schedule, having this power outsourced to a festival is overwhelming.

The proposed magic of a film festival doesn't seem to happen at the screenings but at the film markets which need a lot more preparation to get into. In an ideal world, I imagine a film festival for what it is: A festival, where people come and talk about their experiences and there's more socializing. It is disappointing to note that most screenings are sterile with as little audience interaction as possible. It feels like a cash grab for inventory that might not be marketable else where (would I watch Manodrome if not for the festival?), A better bang for the buck could be obtained by having a yearly card at one of the movie chains in the city which give unlimited screenings for the subscription period, meaning I could watch Everything Everywhere All at Once seven times over if I wanted to. A part of going to the movies is the buzz of conversation with friends after the screening is over, which at a festival is impossible as not many people are open for the gamble of watching an obscure movie.

Sure, there's a greater exposure to world cinema at film festivals but if you're an ordinary film goer, the film festival can be a lonely endeavor. Though I wouldn't classify my movie watching as anything but ordinary, I think I am just tired of watching two unfulfilling movies in a row and here's to hoping the next days will be different.

#Berlinale #filmfestivals