Berlin stinks

BERLINALE: There really was something behind the films at the Berlinale this year.
Truls Lie
Editor-in-chief, Modern Times Review
Published date: March 3, 2020
Saudi Runaway-Berlinale 2020-views-featured

If you are at Potsdamer Platz, right by its Kinematek and Berlinale’s many cinemas, sulfuric water vapor seeps up from the ground. Is this stink of rotten eggs signifying this year’s film festival? Some believe that the majority of the festival’s competition films are B-films. A total of 400 films were screened, half a million cinema visits were expected, and it all cost 25 million euros.

However, it is not stars and red carpet that interest us here at Modern Times Review. This year’s Berlinale featured 101 documentaries. As IDFA‘s Orwa Nyrabia said during a packed seminar on fiction and/or reality, a pretty girl always has an ugly girlfriend. Next to doll-like too perfumed stars, next to the «beauty» of fiction, we also need some of the sometimes perspiring-smelling or ugly reality.

Welcome to Chechnya-documentary-post-1
Welcome to Chechnya, a film by David France

For example, we see this ugly reality in Welcome to Chechnya, where President Ramzan Kadyrov systematically pursues LGBTQ+ individuals. Where gays and lesbians are regularly chased or killed. «We have no gays,» Kadyrov said, recommending families to «clean up» as this is a «shame so strong that it needs to be washed away with blood.» But this «stench» to be washed away is his fiction – Kadyrov has an inhuman morality.

Or, what about the clip of the woman being pulled out of a car, then having the skull crushed by a family member?

Director David France also stood behind important issues with How to Survive a Plague (2012), on HIV /


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