Looking for love at the Berlinale

Posted on February 21, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/the-berlinale-and-searching-for-love-amongst-the-golden-bear-winners-down-the-years-6125141.html/

Hah! Got you with that title, didn’t I? It’s basically the earlier idea I had for a Valentine’s Day-themed column, which is to go down the list of Golden Bear winners and see if there are any honest-to-goodness love stories in there. Yes, one title instantly springs to mind. Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, which won the Golden Bear in 1996. But it’s an English-language film, so it doesn’t count in this space about foreign films. For my column, last week, I finally settled on “love letters” written from one filmmaker to another – but now that the Berlinale has just ended, I thought it would be interesting to take up this topic again. But first, why this angle? I mean, why are love stories so important? Because the big prize winners at these festivals have a reputation for being grim and arty and appealing more to the head than the heart. So is there a foreign film in there that defies this categorisation?

Let’s go all the way back to the first Berlin International Film Festival, held in 1951. Five films were awarded the Golden Bear, in five categories. (It sounds more like the Golden Globes.) In Beaver Valley (from the US) won Best Documentary, Walt Disney’s Cinderella (US) won Best Musical, Four in a Jeep (Switzerland) won Best Drama. Does Cinderella count as a love story? Umm… It’s very looks-ist, no? Had Cinderella not had that princess makeover, courtesy the Fairy Godmother, would the prince have given her a second look? What about Justice is Done (France), which won the Golden Bear for Best Crime or Adventure Film? An ailing man’s mistress is put on trial for his mercy killing. It’s certainly a form of love, but it’s not what we call a “love story”. That leaves us with Best Comedy winner, Without Leaving an Address (France), where a woman goes hunting for the cad who left her pregnant, and is drawn to the kindly cabbie who drives her around… How do you say rom-com in French?

Continued at the link above.

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