Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008

Day 3 - Berlin Intl. Film Festival

By Jonathan Jackson
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Berlin International Film Festival - Day 3

2/9/08

I can`t believe it has been only 3 days. I have already seen more solid fiction films then I saw at all of Sundance.

So far the consensus is that the Competition titles have disappointed, while, at least outside of the European premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece "There Will Be Blood." Interesting sidenote, actor Daniel Day Lewis turned his press conference political by speaking out against comments made by Britain's religious leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Hollywood Reporter put it best:

"The colorfully dressed actor managed to avert a banal question on the state of Greek society only to get stuck into the archbishop, Dr. Rowan Williams, who serves as the head of the Church of England, instead. Day-Lewis told the crowded room of journalists: I don't know if you are aware of this, but the Archbishop of Canterbury has been getting it from all sides today, he said. It's not my position to comment on Greek society, but I do think the Archbishop of Canterbury made a big mistake. Day-Lewis was referring to comments made by Williams, who called for aspects of Islamic Sharia law to be adopted in Britain, which has a significant Muslim population."

I do agree that so far the competition titles have been a bit disappointing, especially Erica Zonca's ("The Dreamlife of Angels") bold, but stunningly ludicrous "Julia." "Julia" was rendered watchable by Tilda Swinton, whose ferocious lead performance channeled John Cassavetes muse Gena Rowlands. However, the other sections of the festival have featured several standout titles, including the world premieres of "Somers Town," from Britian's foremost chronicler of dissafected youth, Shane Meadow's ("This is England") and "Lemon Tree" from "The Syrian Bride" (MIFF 05 favorite) helmer Eran Riklis. Just learned from his biography in the program book that Shane Meadow's dropped out of school to start his career in the arts, as a clown's assistant.

After the late night World Preimere of the mediocre German drug dealing film "Chiko," I attended a party hosted by the film's sales agent, the German company The Match Factory. Hosted at one of the coolest venues I have ever been to for a party, it had a warhouse style courtyard, but inside was closer to a mansion that had a charming, run-down opulence to it, somewhat similar to Milwaukee landmark and excellent new music venue Turner Hall. In one of the rooms of the party the DJ was none other than Fatih Akin, director of past MIFF titles "In July," "Head On," and "Crossing the Bridge." I did invite him to come to MIFF next year, but not sure if he really took me seriously. He seemed a bit distracted spinning Michael Jackson and Soft Cell...

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