Summer Special highlights
Cinema is back in Berlin! The Berlinale Summer Special
opened on June 9 with a red carpet gala. Here are a few snapshots of the event.
Due to the pandemic, the Berlinale was split into two separate events. The first part, an online version of the festival, was held in March and restricted
to film industry professionals as a replacement for the European Film Market.
Now, during the Summer Special from
June 9-20, many films are celebrating their
actual premiere with an outdoor screening.
New gender-neutral acting awards
Maren Eggert smiles as she holds the
Silver Bear recognizing her performance in the German film "
I'm Your Man." The Berlin International Film Festival
has eliminated its best actor and best actress categories, giving out instead for the first time two other
acting awards on a gender-neutral basis, one for the best lead performance and another one for best
A determined documentary filmmaker
German director Maria Speth spent
six years working on her nearly four-hour long documentary, "
Mr. Bachmann and His Class," which follows a teacher and his class of
multicultural children. Her work was recognized with the Silver Bear Jury Prize; Speth thanked her financial supporters when she
picked up the award on June 13.
Celebrating with social distancing
The Golden and Silver Bear prizewinners were able to travel to Berlin to pick up
their statues on June 13, but the ceremony took
place outside, with different COVID-related security measures still in place. Here the
winners pose with their trophies all while keeping a respectable distance from each other.
Solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus
Aliaksei Paluyan's "Courage," a documentary on the
Belarus protests, celebrated its Berlin premiere on June 11.
Nobel Prize for Literature winner Svetlana
Alexievich and lead opposition politician Sviatlana
Tsikhanouskaya were special guests at the event. The audience was also invited to hold photos of arrested Belarusian opposition members as a
sign of solidarity.
Berlin's nightlife, from 1931 to 2021
Dominik Graf's film "Fabian – Going to the Dogs," based on
Erich Kästner's classic novel, is set in Weimar-era Berlin, amid
an exhilarating nightlife and the looming Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933. While lead actors
Saskia Rosendahl and Tom Schilling portray intimate scenes in
the film, they played along with the very different rules of conduct of this pandemic year at the
premiere on June 10.
Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek smile
The first Berlin
International Film Festival under Carlo
Chatrian's and Mariette
Rissenbeek's leadership was in 2020. With the pandemic breaking out right after the
event, all established Berlinale traditions had to be revised for 2021. After months of uncertainty, the
Summer Special opened on
Berlin's Museum Island on June 9. "It is a
pleasure," said artistic director
Chatrian on the red carpet.
Monika Grütters: A special festival
Also joining the opening night celebration, Commissioner for Culture and the
Media Monika Grütters said
she hoped the Berlinale's Summer Special would feel like a "real
campfire romance." Cinemas in Germany have been closed since November 2; outdoor
screenings have only recently been allowed again. "We'll perhaps enjoy
this [festival] like rarely before," said Grütters.
The real lawyer in 'The Mauritanian'
The opening film was "The Mauritanian
," directed by Kevin Macdonald.
Based on the true story of a man who was detained without charge for
14 years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the film stars Jodie Foster in the
role of internationally recognized criminal defense lawyer Nancy Hollander, who
personally introduced the film at the opening event.
Mainly German stars
Different cinema greats from Germany also joined the festival's opening — among them director
Volker Schlöndorff ("The Tin Drum"). But
Hollywood actors, who usually show up on the red carpet, had to stay away this
Summer festival memories for Iris Berben
For many years, the Berlin film festival was actually held in the summer. "This of course reminds me of many years back," German actor Iris Berben, born in 1950, told dpa. In the 1970s, Berlinale
organizers decided to hold the festival earlier in the year to give it an edge on Cannes. "I remember there was a lot of grumbling when they moved it to the cold
season," added Berben at the
A citywide event
The Berlinale's central location is a specially created open-air cinema on Berlin's Museum
Island, but the screenings of the festival's selection are held at 16 sites spread out
throughout the city, such as this one in the courtyard of the Charlottenburg Palace.
Along with the beach chairs, the warm weather contributed to the special atmosphere on the first night
of the festival.