Day 3: Who Needs Reality?

Article published on Feb. 13, 2008
Article published on Feb. 13, 2008
This is part five of a special series on's Berlin blog, in which three Babel reporters will cover a not so well-known aspect of the Berlinale, Berlin's famous film festival. It's called "Berlinale Talent Campus", a forum for 350 young filmmakers from all over the world to present their works, meet each other and improve their skills during various workshops.

by Lena Meier

„I don’t like boundaries. I want to control the scene.“ It’s lunchtime at WAU – the restaurant at HAU2. We happen to be served by a very friendly waitress – which is unusual for this place – as Didzis, a filmmaker from Latvia, is explaining why he prefers making feature movies to do a documentary. Didzis has quite some experience. He has been busy during the last year shooting short films. One is about throwing out garbage – but the filmmaker added a romantic feature to it: People come out in the street with their garbage and start dancing! How cool is that!

Didzis seems to be an exception at the Berlinale Talent Campus. Most of the young directors I met so far are into documentary. Even though Alberto from Italy (he is in our Saturday blog entry) told me that „if you want to reach a big audience don’t use the documentary style.“ The Serbian director Dušan Makavejev has had a big audience all over the world since the 1960s. People love him for his politically provocative, sexually liberal movies. A good impression of his esthetic is given by a slide show of film stills during his conversation with the film critic Peter Cowie at HAU2: a golden penis, Lenin’s head in stone taken down from a monument, sex in public, sex in a bath of sugar, the Berlin wall, a beheaded woman (we learn from the filmmaker she was beheaded with an ice skating shoe after she had sex).

„Film is bigger than life“ Makavejev says and the oversize pictures behind his back prove him right, „it can only be a construction.“. But of course all the pictures in his movies are taken from real life. „You should show everything that’s there and that is violence and sex and death.“ That’s why for the Serbian film veteran there are no taboos. Even though under communism but also in the „free world“ censorship has been most inventive to ban his movies without any legal foundation.

The One-Woman Show

Turn of the scene: At HAU1 Julie Delpy, the French-American one-woman-show is tackling the borders at least of what Rafael, an Israeli talent sitting next to me, can stand. „She’s crazy!“ he comments on her and leaves the place. The topic of the panel is „Heroes vs. Anti-Heroes“ and I find Julie Delpy most entertaining and in the end the only reason to stay at this otherwise rather lame arrangement: Ralph Ziman, director from South Africa talks irritating casually about violence in Johannesburg and the morals of the protagonist in his latest movie– a kind of Robin Hood in the townships. Julia Jentsch, the German celebrity on the panel obviously feels very uncomfortable and can’t explain what it is like to play the young anti-nazi activist Sophie Scholl, a real heroine in German history.

It is a small highlight to learn about Benjamin Gilmour’s latest project „The Son of the Lion“. The Canadian filmmaker went to Pakistan with a finished script in his bag about the Pashtuns, who are known in the world as the group that forms the Taliban. As he lived with them they started to reform his original story into their story. „I didn’t have much choice. I was their guest.“ So can we see the real Pashtuns in this feature film?

Meanwhile Julie Delpy has been biting her nails, drinking her tea, making all kinds of faces and changing her position in her armchair a lot before the interviewer turns to her. All of a sudden she is fully present and rocks the scene with her description of her favourite heroes – „I love obnoxious people!“ – and an estimation of the future of the hero in American cinema – „The anti-hero is back. I’m looking forward to that.“ What she leaves open is: Do we see the real Julie Delpy in „2 Days in Paris“?: „I’m not like that. This is a completely different person. I hate her. Well, I mean, of course, there are some things … Maybe, yes I am that person. No, nonsense. Ehm, I don’t know.“