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Berlinale Bloggers 2018 The polar bear and I

The Berlinale 2018 from a Greek perspective
The Berlinale 2018 from a Greek perspective | © Berlinale 2018

The hunt for the Golden Bear has begun and the 68th Berlinale has some surprises in store for movie enthusiasts. Greek women filmmakers are enjoying international attention. Though the Greek film market is lagging behind them a bit, it too is visible thanks to several co-productions. Berlinale blogger Gerasimos Bekas shares his first impressions.

By Gerasimos Bekas

Goose bumps seem guaranteed this year. Even before the first screening. No wonder, what with the temperatures. The Berlin winter has taken its time this year, but now it’s here. A polar bear knows what to do. He has spread himself out in the heated whirlpool of the SOHO House, a private club in Berlin-Mitte, and looks at me wearily. Cocktails are available at the front of the pool. This is the first Berlinale poster to greet my eyes. There are still a few days left until the official start. I stroll through Berlin-Kreuzberg and pass the HAU theatres, the venues for several film screenings and panel discussions. Technicians load boxes and tow cables through the corridors. The Berlinale is being built. My phone vibrates and shows me more and more press releases from organizers, agencies, press offices.

Coffee yes, cup no

A curiosity, from the Greek point of view, which strikes me with the first press release, is the “Bring your own Cup!” policy. There is free coffee for journalists at the Berlinale, but you have to bring your own the cup. This measure is designed to avoid the unnecessary rubbish produced by paper cups. Great for the environment, complicated for me. It’s going to take a lot of coffee to get through the next few days. There are about 400 films to see. No one manages them all, but what if you happen to miss just the one that will open your eyes, even change your life?

Greek women at the Berlinale

I drop the idea and am pleased that this year some entries have also been invited from Greece. It is above all Greek women who have made it to Berlin with their work. Evangelia Kranioti’s Obscuro Barocco is showing in the section “Panorama”, Marina Gioti is represented in “Forum Expanded” with The Invisible Hands. The Athens public was able to see the latter film first at documenta 14. As in The Invisible Hands, though in a more strictly documentary form, Egypt is also the scene of Reem Saleh’s What Comes Around. In this Greek coproduction, in which a total of five states took part, the camera observes over many years one of the poorest districts of Cairo.

The Berlinale Talents has selected three Greek women who are no strangers to the Greek film market: Ira Dika as director, Elizampetta Ilia-Georgiadou as screenwriter and Phaedra Vokali as producer. So the future of film is female and Greek. With this sentiment, let the Berlinale begin!