Back in early 2019, a movie trailer made the rounds that Berliners shocked and shaken. I’m talking about the Berlin, I Love You film starring Keira Knightly, Helen Mirren, Mickey Rourke. Our friends from Mobile Kino wanted to give all of you who never actually saw the controversial film but still wrote badly about it on the internet the chance to finally catch up and see what the fuzz is all about in an “ironic screening” on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2020, at their new temporary location at Alte Münze.
To give you the facts first: The film is a continuation of the Paris, Je T’aime and New York, I Love You format that is basically a string of unrelated love stories happening in one place and shining the light on the biggest, tackiest cliches of the respective city. Each story is like an episode and it has different, directors, cast and crew. The Berlin one has
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (who directed his episode remotely via Skype back in 2015), as well as German actor/director Till Schweiger and Dani Levy in the line-up of directors. Further famous actors include Luke Wilson, Orlando Bloom, Patrick Dempsey, Renée Zellweger, as well as German actors Sibil Kekilli, Hannelore Elsner, Robert Stadlober and German supermodel Toni Garrn.
The trailer gives us a glimpse into some of the stories of the film with scenes about street musicians, the refugee camp in Tempelhof, Mauerpark Karaoke and of course some nightlife action.
But despite all of the star power and beloved Berlin footage, something feels quite off. Seeing Keira Knightly sing at Mauerpark Karaoke, Luke Wilson hit on a busker and hearing the words “I wanna show you my Berlin” feels somewhat like a higher form of sarcasm. It’s like someone took the knowledge of the Berlin hype and all its cliches from 10 years ago to Hollywood and they made something grotesque out of it that will feel like a form of violation to every Berliner. From someone who has seen the original version of the film, I hear that the episode of Ai Weiwei, which was cut for (most likely) political reasons, was actually one of the best ones. What this says about the rest of the film, well, you’ll have to find out.
The general reactions to the trailer by people from Berlin so far have been pretty harsh. And I love them for that! One American friend mused on social media “That’s why they hate us…” Oh well, honey…
To be fair, while the mixing of Hollywood star power and Berlin tourist cliches feels like the worst possible mix every, some of the episodes might turn out alright, so we are gonna watch the film, no matter what. A personal point of interest for me is that the movie apparently brings three Game of Thrones actors together again. That’s gonna be interesting! And I can’t wait to see that ridiculous scene with Mickey Rourke which to me seems like something out of a horror film. Oh and I bet the nightlife scene is going to be super realistic also…
Enjoy the trailer (or enjoy hating it).