Urban Myths of Berlinale: James Franco and the Berlinale Bag

photos: Skylar Kang

Somehow this year’s Berlinale seems to be celebrated with much more enthusiasm, glamour and invasiveness then the years before. Even our little blog managed to publish already much more articles about this particular event then ever before.
Why is it so you might ask? Is it maybe all because of James Franco pushing the limits in time, space and physics being omnipresent all around the city. Just yesterday a friend asked me if I think we might get expelled out of town just because we have not met James Franco yet (and I am not 100% sure). Or might it be that my theater friends are right and the movie people are all impostors who managed somehow to give the business a pure dose of glamour injection not only causing botoxed faces but also total oblivion to the sponsors of the festival?

Anyway one thing that stays somehow reassuringly unchanged is the distressing bad design of the Berlinale bags. Trying to explain this obscure urban myth repeating itself in its painful atrocity every year I collected some thoughts after the jump.

When I came to Berlin with 18 I was fascinated by the arts and cultural scene of this city. I remember being overly excited for the Berlinale to come because I heard so much about this festival (and somehow I had the naïve fantasy to walk around town and be discovered by a famous director putting me in the lead role of his next movie). But already back then I was shocked seeing the city fled with unspeakably horrendous bags “representing” the festival.

Every year the bad dream repeated itself. I could not understand why this festival being so representative for the glamorous movie business chose such horrible designs to market the happening. On top the bag holders never seemed ashamed to molest everybody but were even somehow proud and carried them around like a trophy. I commented about this absurdity already years ago claiming that the Berlinale bag was the absolute manifestation of bad design. I don’t want to know how many accidents (car drivers becoming blind and losing control of the vehicles) or even suicides (people jumping from the towers of Potsdamer Platz because they have been exposed to the bags to often loosing faith in humanity) have happened in the name of those bags.

Finally, this year I was shocked yet again with the current bag design. Why does it look like the beach bag of my grandmother I had to ask myself? And how can it be that it is already sold out in the online shop of the Berlinale souvenirs. Is the Berlinale bag going to haunt me and everybody else not only this winter but also all the upcoming summer lake seasons? I don’t want to know the answer to my last question.

But I think I somehow found the answer why those bags repeat to surprise me every year in their ugliness. The European movie industry has of course its glamorous aspects but the real hardcore movie fans are really the biggest nerds on Earth. In this strange gap the Berlinale bag represents the secret bridge between the red carpet of the movie stars and the normal folks. In all its ugliness it wants to say: “Hey you, you nerd in love with cinema, come and carry me around. Because inside the cinema, when the lights goes off and the movie starts everybody will forget about me and think only about the movie.” Because like Tim Burton loves to say “Movies are like an expensive form of therapy for me“ – a perfect distraction from our everyday life. I will excuse the Berlinale bags for their harm but just for now because like a bad movie sequel nobody knows how bad the horror will be next year.

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<a href="https://www.iheartberlin.de/author/cr/" target="_self">Claudio</a>