Actually, everyone would like to talk about the films and the stars that are expected at the Berlinale: “Oppenheimer” actor Cillian Murphy, Kristen Stewart and Adam Sandler, for example. But the Berlinale has always been the most political of the major film festivals. And so, in addition to glamor and celebrity announcements before the start next Thursday (February 15th), there is also a debate about the AfD. Representatives of the party have been invited to the opening and have announced that they will come. The festival clearly distances itself from right-wing extremism, but cannot disinvite the MPs.
Not an easy topic for the management team Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian. Like many film fans, they should be looking forward to the program. Carey Mulligan, Gael García Bernal, Amanda Seyfried and Rooney Mara are among the other celebrities expected in Berlin.
Two German directors in the running for the Golden Bear
This time, 20 films are in the running for the Golden Bear - including two projects by German directors Andreas Dresen and Matthias Glasner. Liv Lisa Fries ("Babylon Berlin") can be seen in Dresen's "In Love, Your Hilde" as resistance fighter Hilde Coppi during World War II. Lars Eidinger plays in Glasner's drama "Die" alongside Corinna Harfouch and Ronald Zehrfeld. The French director Olivier Assayas is represented with a film set in lockdown ("Hors du temps"). Nina Hoss can be seen in Claire Burger's competition entry "Langue Étrangère".
The Berlinale and competition will open on February 15th with “Small Things Like These”. Lead actor Cillian Murphy is expected in the capital. Gael García Bernal is the star of the competition entry "Another End", Rooney Mara is in Alonso Ruizpalacios' film "La Cocina".
The jury decides which films win in the end. This time the panel is led by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave"), and the jury also includes German director Christian Petzold.
Political conflicts as a topic
A look at this year's program shows that - like last year - the war in Ukraine will also be a topic. The documentary "Turn in the Wound" by Abel Ferrara deals with life there since the beginning of the war - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has his say, the music was provided by singer Patti Smith.
The situation in the Middle East and Iran should also play a role. In “Shikun,” the Israeli director Amos Gitai deals with a cross-section of Israeli society. In a side series of the Berlinale, three filmmakers withdrew their projects because of Germany's allegedly too Israel-friendly stance in the Gaza war.
Honorary bear for Scorsese and other galas
The awarding of a special bear has already been decided: US director Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street") is to be honored for his life's work on February 20th. His thriller “Departed – Among Enemies” will then be shown.
More galas will be glamorous. For example, the premiere of Julia von Heinz's new film ("And Tomorrow the Whole World"). "Treasure" is her first major international project, for which she was able to win Lena Dunham and Stephen Fry. In the film adaptation of a novel by Lily Brett, Dunham plays a music journalist who goes on a tour with her father, a Holocaust survivor, through his home country of Poland.
“Treasure” is out of competition, as is “Love Lies Bleeding”. The US actresses Kristen Stewart and Katy O'Brian portray a couple who meet in the bodybuilding scene. Adam Sandler and Carey Mulligan are expected to walk the red carpet on February 21st - they are the main actors in the film "Spaceman" by Johan Renck, which will premiere then. Other star-studded premieres include “Cuckoo” by Tilman Singer with “Euphoria” star Hunter Schafer in the lead role, “Sasquatch Sunset” with Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough and Jesse Eisenberg and “Seven Veils” with Amanda Seyfried.
This is how you get tickets
Tickets go on sale online on February 12th at 10 a.m. Tickets are always available three days in advance. Depending on availability, tickets can be purchased up until the start of the performance. The main venue for the premieres is the Berlinale Palast on Potsdamer Platz. Tickets cost between 15 and 18 euros.