Berlinale 2009

  • Ron Holloway


BERLINALE (2009) Festival PoliticsAsked whether the Berlinale has fostered an image as a "political" film festival, Christoph Schlingensief, the German jury member at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival (5-15 February 2009), blurted out: "A competition entry here scarcely stands a chance otherwise." Schlingensief, a highly motivated political filmmaker in his own right, hit the nail right on the head. You only have to look back at the past Golden Bear winners. In 2007, the Grand Prix went to Wang Quan'an's fiction-documentary Tu ya de hun shi (Tuya's Marriage, China). Set in rural Mongolia, Tuya's Marriage mirrored the plight of nomadic shepherds whose way of life is threatened by the government's misguided plans to move them to urban shelters. In 2008, it was awarded to José Padilha's Tropa de elite (The Elite Squad, Brazil). Set in 1997, when the Pope announced his visit to Brazil, that news triggered...