The opening film of the Berlinale is about silence, but at the festival itself there is no silence at all

The opening film of the Berlinale is about silence, but at the festival itself there is no silence at all

Berlin Film Festival jury on the red carpet.Getty Image

The opening film of the 74th Berlin Film Festival is mainly about silence. In sober Little things like this Directed by Tim Milantis (By Patrick, Slim masks) He plays Oppenheimer-Actor Cillian Murphy, an introverted coal farmer Bill, faces abuse at a convent in his Irish village. Everyone knows this, but he keeps silent. After all, nuns have a lot of power, and talking makes noise.

The film is based on the book of the same name and is about decades of abuse in Irish Magdalen convents, where unwed mothers were exploited and forced to give up their children. The simple film is another triumph for Murphy, who is on track to win an Oscar in March for his role in the film Oppenheimer. In his beautiful eyes we see shock and tragedy, but also a tendency towards compassion, which is out of place in a society where silence is the norm.

Finished by the author
Alex Mazerio writes for De Volkskrant About cinema and television. He is a TV critic once every five weeks.

Unlike in the film, there was little silence at the opening of the traditionally politically charged Berlinale. This was most evident during the tense press conference of the jury, led by actress Lupita Nyong'o. In addition to their regular duties, journalists take the opportunity to question the jury about sensitive political topics, such as Gaza and Ukraine.

From left: Director Tim Millanz and actor Cillian Murphy on the red carpet of the Berlin Film Festival.  Getty Image

From left: Director Tim Millanz and actor Cillian Murphy on the red carpet of the Berlin Film Festival.Getty Image

The uproar surrounding the invitation of representatives from the far-right Alternative for Germany party has not been forgotten. These invitations were sent because “protocol required it” and were withdrawn after letters of protest and threats of boycotts. Ultimately, the protests are limited to some statements and a red carpet lighting campaign, initiated in part by the organization itself.

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Jury foreman Nyong'o quietly dodged questions about the matter, saying she was “glad she doesn't have to make this kind of decision.” Fellow jury member and director Christian Petzold was more critical: “I don't think it would be difficult to have them in the audience.” “We are not cowards: if we cannot tolerate even five members of the AfD in the audience, we will lose our battle.”

Other sensitivities also arise when a journalist refers to the comments of jury member Albert Serra, who expressed his admiration for Putin in an interview in 2018. Could there be a nice collaboration, especially with Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabochko on the jury? Zabuzko takes the chills out of the air: “I had dinner with him last night and he immediately bought one of my books. I wish he could lift himself up a little like this.

No, there will certainly be no silence during the Berlinale's tense start. At the end of the press conference, Serra sighs: “We are not Jesus Christ. Even we as a jury do not have the answer to all the problems in the world.

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