The choice of Isle of Dogs to open the 2018 Berlinale underscored the alternative reputation of this most avant garde of major film festivals.
Originality was certainly the hallmark of the opening night film which was a stop motion film from indie darling Wes Anderson. “The opener was a joy: Wes Anderson’s aesthetically brilliant animation Isle of Dogs, about a group of talking dogs fighting anti-canine oppression in a future Japan: the voices include Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig and the perennial Bill Murray.” wrote Jonathan Romney in the Guardian.
Other treated served up for cinephiles was the Zellner brothers’ Damsel starring British heartthrob Robert Pattinson opposite Mia Wasikowska in a weird Western.
Berlin also welcomed the latest work from two of Hollywood’s most feted and alternative big name directors :- Gus Van Sant and Steven Soderbergh.
Van Sant arrived in Berlin with his mercurial leading man Joaquín Phoenix for Don’t worry,he won’t get far in foot. The actor was on typically wacky form at the press conference where he reluctantly knuckled down to promo. The film told the true story of a quadriplegic cartoonist.
Steven Soderbergh’s Kafkaesque psychological thriller Unsane starred Claire Foy as a woman committed to a mental hospital against her will. This was a gritty drama sure to send shivers down the spine. How a regular girl can have her have her life turned upside down after a routine consultation.
Names thronged the Berlinale Palast red carpet – including Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba and Latino superstar Gael Garcia Bernal. As ever a select group were able to witness arrivals from the cocktail crows nest of the Golden Bear Lounge. The sponsors of this most prestigious of lounges are makers of the most prestigious watches – .Glashütte. As befits the purveyors of top notch watches they had their suggestion for those attending the Closing Night ceremony “For a stylish appearance on the red carpet: the Senator Tourbillon with a black dial for him and the Pavonina in red gold with a dark-blue leather strap, set with 42 diamonds, for her. ” says a spokesperson
For many years now, the Berlin International Film Festival has been committed to documentary film and diverse documentary forms.
Glashütte Original, watch manufacturer from Saxony, the Berlin International Film Festival launched a new award, the Glashütte Original – Documentary Award, in 2017.
This prize for the best documentary film is endowed with € 50,000, funded by Glashütte Original. A total of about 18 documentary entries from the current programmes of the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation, Berlinale Special and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections as well as the Culinary Cinemaspecial series is nominated for the Glashütte Original – Documentary Award. A three-member jury picks the winner – the prize money is split between the film’s director and producer.
Besides the prize money, Glashütte Original also provides the trophy, finely crafted in the Saxon manufactory and presented to Ruth Beckermann.
AWARD WINNER 2018
Waldheims Walzer (The Waldheim Waltz) by Ruth Beckermann
To mark Wes Anderson’ s mutt masterpiece Isle of Dogs, which opened the film festival the was something of star at the US Embassy. A major wall panel of stills featured the dogs stars of the Anderson stop motion. Stepping up to take a bow were Spots, Rex, Duke and Boss. Better still the dogs featured on the menu. Hounds shaped colourful shortbread edged out the Ferrero Roché as the diplomatic nibble. The superpower endorsement had the desired effect in the final night awards ceremony when Isle of Dogs scooped the Best Director award for Wes Anderson.
The unavailability of the director to accept his prize is unusually met with a groan but the Berlinale had the finest of standins. One of the films voice actors and great friend of the festival, Bill Murray, voiced Boss in the film.
“Presaged by his presence in the audience tonight, Bill Murray was on stage to accept the Silver Bear Best Director prize for Wes Anderson. His Isle Of Dogs opened the festival way back on February 15 and Murray charmed the audience upon accepting, “I never thought I’d go to work as a dog and come home with a bear. I’m glad I was deputized to watch the house here in case anything like this broke out… I’d like to be one more person from America to say ‘Ich bin ein Berliner Hund‘” (which translates to “I am a Berlin dog”).” said Deadline Hollywood.
One thing is for sure the Berlin Festival 2018 had much to wag it’s tail about.
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