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Entertainment After the Sundance Film Festival, the Berlinale opens in virtual mode

14:40  02 march  2021
14:40  02 march  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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  Beirut blast 'collapsed world' of Berlin film fest contenders The Berlin film festival kicked off online Monday with a premiere from a Lebanese couple who had to overcome both Beirut's devastating port blast and the pandemic to bring their movie to the screen. "Memory Box" by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige is one of 15 films vying for the Golden Bear top prize Friday at the 71st Berlinale, the first major European cinema showcase of the year. Like Sundance this winter, the event has gone all-virtual as the global movie industry tries to keep new releases ticking over with entertainment-starved audiences stuck at home and movie theatres shuttered.

Jérémie Renier dans « Albatros », de Xavier Beauvois, en lice pour l’Ours d’or de la Berlinale 2021. © Guy Ferrandis Jérémie Renier in "Albatros", by Xavier Beauvois, in the running for the Golden Bear at the 2021 Berlinale.

While most festivals, starting with Cannes, had to be canceled in 2020, one of the most important festivals in the world of cinema, the Berlin Film Festival, opened on Monday March 1 ... in virtual mode. After the Sundance Independent Film Festival in February, it is the first festival of this magnitude to be held non-face-to-face, but with, all the same, a competition of 17 films and a jury composed exclusively of former laureates of the 'Golden Bear.

In this very special year, film festivals must also reinvent themselves. The Independent Film Festival Sundance in Utah, US, had pushed back its dates to finally end on February 3. The 2021 edition took place mainly in virtual mode, but the organizers still kept some screenings in theaters in Park City and Salt Lake City and in twenty other cities, with a very small number of spectators and added screenings in drive-ins and open-air cinemas.

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► To read also: Golden Globes: The coronation of Chloé Zhao and the breakthrough of women and platforms in the cinema 1 Result : during this edition that has become hybrid, but still paid (15 dollars a ticket), 73 feature films were screened, therefore significantly less than the 120 in 2020. On the other hand, Sundance was delighted with the age of the festival-goers (48% were between 18 and 34 years old) and especially the fact that the number of visitors gathered on site and online has more than doubled from the previous edition. With 251

2,331 views recorded, the festival thinks it has attracted 500

2,000 spectators in the United States. In addition, the conferences and discussions, accessible worldwide, brought together approximately 66 2,000 people in 120 countries. For all the offers of the 2021 edition, the festival has a total number of 600 2,000 spectators, compared to 260 2,000 spectators in 2020. 4 The 71st Berlinale entirely in virtual mode 4 Epidemic obliges, the Berlinale also saw its staggered dates, from February to early March. But above all, between March 1 and 5, the festival will take place only in a virtual mode, without stars and without rhinestones. This 71st edition, participants, whether they are journalists or film professionals, will experience it at home, in front of their computer. 4 Carlo Chatrian, artistic director of the Berlinale preferred to bet everything on a two-stage festival: virtual in March and face-to-face in early June 2: “2 We took other hypotheses into consideration, but, at the end, we found this two-step formula where it is a single program that is presented at two different times. First to the professionals, and secondly, which is also essential for us, to be able to show it in theaters in June. 2 »4 Seventeen films are in competition this year, mainly from Europe, including 5 German films and 3 French 2 films: Albatros, by Xavier Beauvois, Petite Maman, by Céline Sciamma, and Memory Box by Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas. This is of course the first time that the Franco-Lebanese filmmaker has presented one of her films in such special conditions. "2 This is a very strange moment. And then, it's time for the premiere, precisely. Suddenly, the film comes out, we see it, he meets people. Here, this is not the case. 2 »4 For film professionals too, a festival is always a mixture of intense work and more festive moments. Nothing like this this year, admits Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, 2 exporter: "2 Buyers are also spectators, that is to say they see films in cinema conditions, in a theater, with other buyers, their competitors. The emulation takes place at this point. These are things which, from a distance, without bringing together the entire profession in the same place, at the same time, is a disadvantage, not only for us producers or exporters, but also for the buyers themselves. even who doubt. 2 "4 So we left for five days of intensive viewing and zoom conferences. As for the jury, made up exclusively of former winners of the Golden Bear, the festival’s highest award, it will deliver its verdict on Friday. The official award ceremony should normally be held in early June, when the mini festival, open to the public, should be held in theaters of the German capital.

Downton star Stevens' turn as robot Romeo kicks off Berlinale .
Downton star Stevens' turn as robot Romeo kicks off BerlinaleThis is the premise of Maria Schrader's romantic comedy 'I'm Your Man', which opened this year's online Berlin Film Festival on Monday.

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