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February 06 - Leconte gives, Youth takes The first aspect of the Berlin International Film Festival that leaps out of a veteran of the film festival circuit is the youth of its participants. Both the press corps and the ticket buyers are heavily skewed towards those in their 20s, or college age, and divided 50-50 by gender. Taken alone, the press corps includes a large 30-something contingent and a brigade of the even older (ahem), but the normal divisions and battalions of greyhairs hanging out at cafes and clogging up the lines as if they were so many arteries are largely absent.
February 07 - Even Homer nodded Shock, horror! For the first time in a long and distinguished artistic career, filmmaker John Boorman has made a bad film and a very bad one at that. Literally hundreds had been expecting COUNTRY OF MY SKULL to be an early highlight of the festival, but nearly all of them walked out of the end of the Saturday morning screening with unhappy or even depressed looks on their faces.
February 08 - Sex and Politics For over half a century, the Berlin International Film Festival has sought to place an emphasis on political films and this year’s festival continues that tradition. But what looks political isn’t always so, while true politics sometimes makes its entry into a film by the back door.
February 09 - Videocity After three days of film-on-film, day four presented an intrepid viewer with a series of video-to-film encounters. Of the three features and three featurettes that made use of the electronic medium, the most successful were those that acknowledged, even if only implicitly, their origins.
February 10 - Weekday Blues Plus One Major film festivals are notorious for their mid-festival scheduling, the suspicions always being that movies with shakier reputations are left to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The idea, I guess, is that the press is stuck in town and will go see anything once the chips are down while, on the weekends, you want to put on “audience pictures” to keep the public satisfied.
February 11 - Only China and the USA It may seem strange for an American film critic to go all the way to Berlin and end up watching American films, but it would be even stranger to go all that way and spend a whole morning not watching any films. So…
February 12 - A Late Masterpiece Just when you’ve convinced yourself, on the day before you’re set to leave Berlin, that the absence of that one masterpiece is OK, then off in the distance that white whale leaps over the waves…