photo by Ali Ghandtschi
It’s nearly Berlinale time and the city is buzzing with excitement.
The festival will show more than 400 films and is expecting close to half a million visits to the screenings taking place across the city. The program is already online and the first tickets have gone on sale. But how is one expected to make sense of the huge selection and find films one actually will enjoy?
Of course there are plenty of articles with recommendations that can give you an idea. Those are usually films that were raved about at Sundance, films that have been anticipated highly, films from famous directors, with ingenious actors or winners from a few years back. However you never know if that simply means that tickets will sell out immediately or if those films are actually down your alley ( I’m thinking back to that horrific Monuments Men for example). And it’s good to keep in mind that writers who do recommend movies before they’ve premiered often haven’t seen the films either, so really it’s just a lucky guess based on what they know from press releases and participants of the project.
Therefore we recommend you to also make your own choices! Read our little guide on how to select the right films for your Berlinale visit …
photo by César
Just think: These films have been selected out of thousands of submissions, so how bad can it really be? Just pick a film and go!
Use the program planner on the Berlinale website
This is key to making sense of the program! You can easily create an account and then happily click away in the program marking all films you are interested in. This will help you remember your favorites as well as structure your calendar.
Look for your favorites
The Berlinale website offers a search function where you can look for actors and directors. Search for your favorites and mark the films they are presenting. If you liked their previous work it’s a pretty safe bet.
Did you see a film you really liked at last year’s festival, but don’t remember the names of the actors or director? Do some research and see if they might have a new film in the Berlinale this year.
photo by Jan Windszus
Browse the program
Each of the films is presented on the Berlinale website. I often select films solely based on a beautiful still, an interesting synopsis or a great title.
Keep your ears to the ground
When you stand in line or wait for a film to start, listen to the conversations around you. The films you hear people talking about all the time: You’ll want to see that one! Obviously speaking to people directly is also a great idea…
See what’s sold out
A films sells out as soon as the tickets go on sale? Try to get a ticket for the next screening (there are usually 3 to 5 screenings of each film). There’ll surely be something about it. This of course doesn’t count for the “Blockbuster Specials”. It means next to nothing if the new Brad Pitt films sells out.
Go by country
You’ve just been to Thailand? You’re going to Greece this summer? Pick a film from those countries. It’s a nice personal connection to the film.