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Berlin


The 70th Berlinale International Film Festival will be held from February 20 to March 1, 2020.
Our team of festival ambassadors and reporters bring you the dailies from the Berlin Film Festival and European Film Market and keep an eye on past editions archives. WATCH OUR VIDEO COVERAGE TRAILERS INTERVIEWS AND AMBIANCE   PHOTOS

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There are Stars and there Super-Stars, then there is MADONNA...

There are Stars and there Super-Stars, then there is MADONNA... a kind of media SuperNova, who blows other stars away, sends photogs scurrying like cockroaches in heat, and attracts incredible throngs of gawkers even when she isn't trying to outrage the Bourgeois and seems to be on her best behavior. The forty-nine year old Queen of Pop arrived in Berlin on Wednesday looking very trim in a smart, conservative black dress, six inch high heels, and her blonde tresses parted neatly in the middle. The purpose of her visit, to present and promote her debut as a film director, a modest motion picture entitled "Filth and Wisdom" boasting no name actors, not even herself.
Even case-hardened festival journalists were willing to stand around for a solid two hours packed together like sardines on the landing at the top of the lobby stairs in the Hyatt Hotel outside of the press conference hall, hoping to be among the chosen two hundred lucky enough to get a seat inside and ogle the Diva in the flesh before their weary eyes. This reporter, not up to such frenzied gridlock just to lay eyes on somebody I'm not really interested in, opted to watch the press conference on the giant outdoor TV screen across the Square from the hotel, and probably had a better view than I would have had as part of the reportorial crush inside.

I must say that Madonna looked fantastic (for her age) and acquitted herself as every inch a lady, seriously and thoughtfully responding to the questions thrust upon her, most of which had to with her personal life and world view, rather than the film itself. In fact, aside from the early morning press screening, all other screenings have been sold out in advance and few of the press corps in the room had had a chance to see it. Aside from ninny questions like "What do you do to keep looking so young?", which she shrugged off with a smile and a thank you, she spoke rather meaningfully of her early life in a very conservative Midwestern town, her need to break away and the shock she experienced when she discovered her first dancing teacher was gay. Through him she entered the gay world in a way and found the people there much more accepting and honest than the Bourgeois of Bay City. She mentioned that her religious faith and happy marriage (to British film director Guy Ritchie) have stabilized her hitherto hectic life and at the end of the conference she called on the star of her flick, geeky looking "Ukrainian-Gypsy-Punk" musician Eugene Hutz, to knock out a song on his Gogo-Bordello Band guitar, which was embarrassingly similar to the kind of stuff you here in Subway corridors and brought the otherwise sober press conference to a clamorous and dissonant close. Madonna's one concession to weirdness was a demand for a carload of "Blessed Kabala Water" to be delivered to her hotel, as she drinks no unblessed H2O since having converted to Cabbalism, a mystic Judaic sect of the Middle Ages. Catholic Holy Water I've heard of, and even sampled on my way out of a Polish church, but "Kabala water", blessed or unblessed, is a new one on me.
As for the film, "Filth and Wisdom" set entirely in London, largely in the Disco scene, I was told by Neil Young, director of the UK Bradford festival (and no relation to CSNY) that the prestigious British daily, the Guardian, had described it as "the worst film in the entire history of the Berlin festival", but others disagreed and though it was only the worst film of this years festival. Mr. Young himself, an astute film assessor, said that "If you didn't know it was made by Madonna it would just seem like a run-of-the-mill low budget Indie film, not particularly bad". Not having seen it yet, and having other more pressing priorities I reserve judgment. In any case Madonna's presence, her face plastered on every front page and middle page of just about every local German newspaper, and even the front page of the Frankfurter Rundschau at the other end of the map, enlivened what has been a rather pedestrian and slow-moving festival until now.
Most Berlin regulars seem to be taking it easy in the unseasonably mild weather and seem to agree that, aside from the Daniel Day-Lewis starrer, "There Will Be Blood" which opened the festival on day number one, there are no other must-see biggies in the competition section. Day-Lewis showed up to plug the film in a red checkered lumberjack outfit with gold earrings suspended from both ears and said in an interview that searching out a good role was like prospecting for gold and, what makes him happz in his chosen profession is losing his self in a role.
A big side event which has become a regular red carpet happening here is the "Cinema for Peace" gala held each year at the Berlin Konzert Haus in another part of town. The Konzert Haus red carpet was graced this year, among others, by beauteous Russian Opera diva, Anna Netrebko, looking fabulous in an off the shoulders purple top and a flowing flowery floor-length skirt. Film celebs at the event included the First Lady of French film, Catherine Deneuve, American actress Hillary Swank, and British stars, Christopher Lee (the horror film master) and Joseph Fiennes

By Alex Deleon.

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Berlin 2019: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Lindsay Bellinger and Bruno Chatelin...
Ambiance, film reviews, trailers and podcasts, EFM insider information, and much more.
Feel free to leave us your comments and share the blogs with more fans from the festivals scene.

 


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