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Berlinale-Blogger 2019
Tilda Swinton praises the work of Dieter Kosslick

Berlinale Blogger 2019: Tilda Swinton Press Conference
Foto: Joseph Walsh © Goethe-Institut London

Tilda Swinton, who stars in Joanna Hogg’s ‘The Souvenir’ which plays in the Panorama section, praises the work of Dieter Kosslick.

By Joseph Walsh

Tilda Swinton first came to Berlin back in 1986 with Derek Jarman’s Silver Bear-winning ‘Caravaggio’. A regular at the festival ever since, Swinton is back once again, this time for Joanna Hogg’s ‘The Souvenir’, which is playing in the Panorama strand. 

Hogg and Swinton are lifetime friends, and this project is personal to both of them as it draws on events in their early 20s when living in west London. ‘The Souvenir’ also marks the first time that Swinton has collaborated with her daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne. She takes the lead role as Julie, a fledgling film student, who is in part based on Hogg’s own recollections of the time. 

Speaking at the press conference for ‘The Souvenir’, Swinton looked back on her time at the festival under the leadership of Dieter Kosslick, who took up the directorship of the festival in May 2001, and for whom this 69th edition of the festival will be his last. 

‘Dieter Kosslick has made it a party - and that is a really rare and wonderful thing’, says Swinton. ‘I think that a festival director who can have a party for 18 years in the way that he has, is to be cherished. We need people to know how important that is.’ 

Swinton has sat on the jury at the Berlinale three times, and was jury president 10 years ago at the 59th festival when Claudia Llosa’s ‘The Milk of Sorrow’ took home the Golden Bear. ‘The Berlinale was the first film festival I came to,’ she recalls, then jokingly adds, ‘I’ve known this festival in pretty much every capacity – I haven’t cleaned her, but that will probably be next year.’

It was at the festival that Swinton discovered world cinema. Her experiences inspired her to become an international filmmaker. Since her first visit, she has appeared in a long list of titles selected by the festival, including Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’, Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Snowpiercer’, and her own film ‘The Seasons in Quincy’.  

Swinton closed her tribute to Kosslick saying, ‘Dieter has served the Berlinale in a phenomenal way. The Berlinale will only build on those achievements. Long live the Berlinale!’.