In the deepest, darkest months of winter, Berlin is illuminated by the annual Berlinale – one of the world’s leading international film festivals. Indeed, for the average fan-on-the-street, the Berlinale is regarded as perhaps the best due to the amount of tickets that are made available for the likes of ordinary Joes and Josephines like you and me…and that includes the red carpet premieres!
In 2011 the city will be welcoming the 61st edition of the Berlinale to cinemas around town, and with over 400 films in a number of different categories, you will be sure to find something you fancy. Indeed, one of the best things about the Berlinale is taking some time to browse the programme and take a chance on a film from some corner of the world and heading to the cinema to discover a masterpiece that you probably would not have seen in any other way, and that will almost certainly not be arriving at the nearest twenty-screen WorldofCineMegaPlex any time soon.
The Berlinale runs from the 10th – 20th February 2011, and the official website has a wealth of information to help you find out what’s going on and where, but here’s a brief Circus Guide to get you started.
Much of the glamour of the festival surrounds the Competition section, which is where filmmakers from around the world go head to head to convince the jury that it is their work that should be awarded the prestigious Golden Bear. Confusingly, only 16 of the 22 films in the competition section are competing for the awards (more details here), but there is a staggering 16 world premieres amongst them, which means there is plenty of opportunity for some red-carpet-stalking and star-spotting.
But the Berlinale is much more than just the competition. The section Perspektive deutsches Kino focuses on the world of German film, whilst Forum showcases the avant-garde and experimental, observations and political reportages, and new filmmakers at the forefront of new and unconventional cinema.
The Panorama offers a wide selection of art-house cinema from around the world, and includes films from places such as India, Brazil, the USA, Spain, Switzerland and many, many more. Added to this mix are many other sections of the festival including those devoted to short films, retrospectives, and children’s cinema.
The Retrospective for 2011 is the work of Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergmann, which includes not only film screenings, but also exhibitions, readings and public lectures. To get a full run-down of the different sections of the Berlinale 2011, including links to each section in detail, take a look at this page on the official website.
If you will be Berlin over the 10 days of the festival, then of course the question you want answered is: how do we get in to see the films? Well, its relatively easy. Beginning on the 7th February, films go on sale at the ticket offices and a limited allocation through the Berlinale website.
You can only purchase films less than 3 days in advance (4 days for competition films), and on the day of the screening tickets are only available at the specific box office. The central ticket sales points are at the Arkaden on Potsdamer Platz, the Kino International on Karl-Marx-Allee, and the Urania near Nollendorfplatz (open times for all sales points: 10am-8pm).
There are different prices for special screenings and premieres, but most tickets are between €7-8. Detailed ticket information is available online at the Berlinale website.
Enjoy the festival, and keep your eyes pealed both on the blog and at the Circus for the chance to win some tickets to Berlinale screenings as part of the by-now-annual Circus Berlinale Ticket Giveaway!