Berlin 2003

  • Ron Holloway


WITH THE WORDS "TOWARDS TOLERANCE" prominently displayed on the front cover of the catalogue for the 53rd Berlinale (6-16 February 2003), accompanied by an appropriate essay by festival director Dieter Kosslick on the Berlinale contributing to "a greater understanding between cultures," the impending Iraqi war hung over the heads of the international jury like a Damocles sword. So the jury, headed by Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan, appropriately awarded the Golden Bear to Michael Winterbottom's In This World (UK), a fiction-documentary about two young Afghans leaving a refugee camp in Peshawar to embark on an arduous journey along the ancient Silk Road - from Pakistan through Iran and Turkey to Istanbul and eventually London. That the film was shot with a digital camera (Marcel Zyskind) on actual locations adds to the immediacy of the journey, but it's the sound recording (Stuart Wilson) that sends some chills up your spine when...