My second day at the Berlinale.
- Fell a bit in love with Billy Bob Thornton. Turns out he’s a nice man as well as a good director.
- John Hurt, aged 72, is getting cooler and handsomer by the day.
- Billy Bob’s film Jayne Mansfield’s Car was enjoyable. It’s an Alabama generational saga with an anti-war message; the references are Tennessee Williams and Chekhov, the style is pure Altman. What’s not to like? Some of it is a bit conventional, and the subtext is somehow lacking in depth, but it’s a well-constructed work, with a good pace, quite a few laughs, and a great ensemble cast.
- The highlight of the day was undoubtedly Winter Nomads, a Swiss film about transhumance - the ancient shepherding practice of walking sheep across land to graze on whatever’s left from the harvest season. Its charismatic protagonists (two shepherds, three donkeys, four dogs and eight hundred sheep!) make it a very enjoyable journey, which leads the viewer to consider the relationship between tradition and modernity, man and beast, landscape and ritual. It’s a delightful, lovely, touching film.
- I walked from Potsdamer Platz to Hebbel am Ufer, where the Berlinale Talent Campus is taking place. The atmosphere there is anarchic, vibrant, full of exciting new ideas and talent. You can tell some of the people here are going to make a massive contribution to the future of cinema. Went to a workshop on distribution and a lecture on digital storytelling and interactive documentary to pick up tips for some exciting things that are in the pipeline for me personally and for No Borders Magazine. More anon.
- It’s much less cold, thank god. Only one pair of socks, and thermals under jeans will see me through today. Thermal vest not needed under a thick Icelandic wool jumper.
- Discovered that the U-Bahn between Kreuzberg and the place wehre I’m staying is closed after 10pm for engineering works. That was interesting. Ugh.