Let's begin with some info about my EVS project. I work for an Open Channel in Magdeburg Germany. It takes only 1,5 with a bus or a train to get to Berlin (except for when the transport is not late). So my reason to come work for the channel was that I am obsessed with films and filming, always know everything about film directors and film festivals. Actually, at the channel we all are, and I extremely love our conversation about film art at work (and after).
So, of course, being in Germany and only 1,5 hours far from the center of the film festival I before were only reading about on the internet, I was researching how I could get a chance to go for the festival. Here's what I know now: the first option is to get press accreditation if you work in any kind of media, but you need to do it way before the festival dates. The second option is to wake up early in the morning and get a place in the line in front of the ticket office and buy your actual ticket. That actually is pretty manageable if you live or are staying in Berlin. Moreover, the prices are very liberated, just as if you were going to any other movie theater. And the third option is to buy your ticket online. The only thing is that the tickets get sold out super quickly and they are available not for all of the screenings.
So with no press card or opportunity to stay in the line in the middle of Berlin in the morning, on 20th of February, I decided to have a look if there were any tickets left. And there were! So I see these tickets for the movie called "Mein Bruder heißt Robert und er ist ein Idiot". The title and the description sound pretty interesting, it is also a German movie so would be nice to watch something in German #AlwaysPractice, and also the screening was in the main hall of Berlinale - Berlinale Palast. All of these facts and the thought that I would finally get this picture of the Berlinale Palast in red lights made me buy the ticket. My boss was so excited for me, as attending a film festival is a really sacred moment in the life of all the film lovers, so she let me go.
It is now the time to mention that during the festival there were more than 400 films screened, more than 8 categories, and only 24 films in the main competition. So it is not an easy task to choose the one film to watch out of 400 and to be lucky to get the ticket for the one you choose. So I didn't bother much, as it is just impossible to come up with a way to choose it, I thought, that any movie of the festival deserves to be there, so it would be nice to see at least one of them.
The next day, I am going to Berlin, getting to Berlinale Palast and I am just so moved by the whole atmosphere. People with Berlinale backpacks everywhere, photographers, just busy people around. I go to Starbucks as I had a spare half an hour and it is just packed with the journalists hurrying and writing articles and reviews to post them the first. The whole square is alive. It took me a little while to get where is the entrance for the audience, as there are also photographers and guards around the Berlinale Palast. With my coffee and my beloved ticket, I finally get inside and I am just so happy.
The whole atmosphere was super fancy, we greeted the director and actors, who were watching the movie with us. That is an incredible feeling! To know that the people who created the movie are sitting just several rows away. Before I didn't even look while buying the ticket how long the film was. In an hour some people started leaving the film hall. Three hours later, almost 70 people left. I will not spoil the movie, but it for sure was controversial and sometimes even scandal, so yes, not everyone would like it. When the movie finished, the director with the whole crew came on the stage to say a couple of words and the reaction of the audience was just indescribable. Some were screaming how bad it was, some were standing and applauding. And I was just happy. Happy because I got to be there, happy because people could express their reaction so openly and freely, happy that people think differently. Happy that there are people who make art and shoe the things as they see them knowing that not everyone will understand. Though I did.
As I said, I didn't really worry what film from these 400 films I would watch, I just did and happily came back to Magdeburg. The next day something strange happened. My boss and coordinator were asking me about the movie as they wrote some critics reviews. All of the filming communities and online magazines I am following just burst with articles about "Mein Bruder heißt Robert und er ist ein Idiot". I even read that at the first screening a day before somebody in the audience started to smoke right while watching the movie and then it grew into this scandal news. Everybody was talking about it, even the Russian resources that I read. Some loved it, some hated it.
I couldn't get why there is so much fuss around one of 400 films until I realized: the film was in the Competition category. Thet meant that this film alongside with other 23 movies was competing to get the Golden Bear prize. I was stunned. I managed to watch a Competition category film that moreover brought resonance without even knowing it! Well done.
I was waiting for the results and hoping the film will get an award, as I think such a controversial movie that opens up a dialogue really deserves it. It didn't as it was too risky. But it will definitely be a remarkable moment in the Berlinale history. And in my life.