The four types of film critics at the 2010 Berlin film festival

Article published on Feb. 17, 2010
community published
Article published on Feb. 17, 2010
Logo BerlinaleThose without the right credentials are often envious of ‘them’: the red armband-wearing journalists weaving around the place who don’t queue for the screenings because they just don’t have to! As a journalist you’re often irritated by your peers, but you always see the same faces at the same places. A look at the Berlinale-boffin-journalists through an anthropologist’s eyes…

1. The disciplined, pre-prepared type

…who knows the itinerary two weeks in advance of the press conference, keeps the interview slots in accordance with his or her film timetable, which is kept immaculate in a plastic sleeve and never far from hand. As an ambitious, hobby-journalist – who needs to cope with his film workload¬ – he needs one thing above all else: Discipline. In the cinema, he’s the one sat there scribbling away with a special reading lamp which is the envy of all the other journalists, as they have to use their mobile phone screens and get admonished by those around them. The disciplined, pre-prepared type will also leave the numerous Berlinale parties by 9pm sharp; he needs to be fit and ready for the 9am press screening the next day after all!

2. The stuck up, snobby intellectual

…who struts around Potsdam Square with extravagant collars, a bolt-upright walk, and big pockets/bags/jackets. They mostly come from France and don’t understand they have to freeze in Berlin, when the summer sun is beating down on Cannes. Despite the several layers of snow covering the ground, they somehow find a way to look elegant as they make their way around. Their press pass is dark red meaning ‘from a quite important daily publication’, but their colleagues with light red passes haven’t got a clue who they are. The dark red, press pass types are always amongst the last to turn up and take their reserved seat next to a nervous filmmaker. The criticisms from the stuck up, snobby intellectual are usually devastating.

3. The nerd

…who fulfils every clichéd criteria: an overweight, bespeckled male. He writes his own film blog and plans to report on all the 400 films at Berlinale. What’s his main theme? Animated pictures, like those he spent watching all night long in American sitcoms. Madness! In his Berlinale shoulder bag you’ll find his lifesaving rations to survive the long days and nights: some chocolate, cola and crisps. His criticisms are usually ratings in the form of a thumbs up or thumbs down.

4. The foreigner

...who has brought an extra-padded winter jacket, which was specifically purchased for Berlinale from the foreigner’s South American, capital city home. Born and bred Berliners don’t have this kind of jacket and freeze as a result. The foreigner is a big fan of European, independent films and tends to ask incomprehensible questions in press conferences; both in subject matter and pronunciation. Weeks after the Berlinale has passed, one of them will still be sat there looking bemused in one of Berlin’s underground stations, and eventually arrested. Aside from the Cinemaxx in Potsdam Square, or the backstreet cinemas in districts of Neukölln, Zehlendorf, Schöneberg or the renowned Zoo-Palast, he simply doesn’t know where he’s going.

By Christiane Loetsch live from the Berlin film festival

Translator: Aatish Pattni

Images by ©Katarzyna Swierc