The Berlinale officially began on Thursday (February 16) with a press conference by the seven-person jury. This year's jury president Kristen Stewart (32) addressed the relationship between film and politics. In times of political crisis, the film offers the opportunity to "emphasize beautiful things," explained the actress. She added, "I think it's an artist's job to take a disgusting or bad subject, process it, and turn it into something more beautiful, helpful." Because of the city's history, the Berlin Film Festival is "confrontational and political in a positive way".
The Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani (39), also part of the jury, took the opportunity to draw attention to the situation in her homeland: "Iran, it's a dictatorship, it's not just something philosophical or theoretical. People lack it Oxygen, the air that Iran breathes." After the fall of the Wall, Berlin symbolized freedom for her. The Chinese director Johnnie To (67) said: "If you want to fight for freedom, then you have to fight for the cinema, for the film."
Next to Stewart, Farahani and To are the German director Valeska Grisebach (55, "Western"), the US casting agent Francine Maisler (61, "Dune", "She Said"), the Romanian director Radu Jude (45) and the Spanish director Carla Simón (36) in the jury. They were all welcomed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (64) and Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (67) in the Chancellery on Wednesday.
The opening ceremony on Thursday evening should continue politically. A video switch to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj (45) is planned. This will be followed by the world premiere of the film "She Came To Me" by US director Rebecca Miller (60).
As part of the Berlinale, a total of 283 contributions from 67 countries will be shown until February 26th. 19 works are competing for the Golden and Silver Bears. Director Steven Spielberg (76) is to receive the Honorary Golden Bear for his life's work.