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

Berlinale 2023

The ticketing is broken, but the program is too huge to pick out any favorites. Given a chance I would just go to the retrospectives, considering a lot of classics there are films I've watched several times over (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) or films gestating on my watch list for too long (Aparajito). Considering that all the theaters are spread out in the city and the public transport can at times be whimsical, I figured the best strategy would be to pick times I'm comfortable watching a movie and then choose a theater that's easily accessible by public transport and then join this diagram with the tickets for shows that are available. Not being a picky watcher has its perks as I can watch anything thrown my way, which means my schedule for the Berlinale is unpredictable and the three movies I watched so far bear no relation with each other.

  • The Man who Envied Women by Yvonne Rainer
  • Laggiù qualcuno mi ama by Mario Martone
  • Past Lives by Celine Song

Though I tend not to watch animated movies, shorts or documentaries, everything else is on the cards. Having not been to a film festival in a while, I kind of forgot the commitment and stamina it takes to sit through movies at 10 in the morning or 10 in the night but as I get older, my movie going experiences have changed. I find it okay to now doze a bit in a movie if it allows for it (a pleasant movie will always makes space for a little nap, a great movie even aids in the dreaming process and a bad movie is a grating experience where no napping is possible) and also okay if a movie doesn't maximize my pleasure function. There is also the anxiety of the watching the movies itself, I didn't know that watching so many movies in such a short span is something I've done almost a decade ago, with streaming almost replacing my movie going habit. It's nice to rediscover the joy of being in a theater as it amplifies the out of body experiences movies induce me to. Center seats in the front third of the kino, here I come.

#Berlinale #kino #filmfestival