Friday, February 13, 2009

Pink Pap

When one attends a film festival of the stature of the Berlinale, one expects to be protected, to some degree, from film that is total crap. Of course, the more foreign the film and the more alternative/experimental the genre, the more likely exceptions become. The experienced film-goer will of course have a certain tolerance for this and skill in correcting for it. But when the film is from the festival's home country, screened by life-long residents and fluent speakers of the language, one has every expectation of seeing the very best that the country has to offer.

Given my new-found admiration for the German language, I'd planned to spend a relatively high percentage of my time, roughly one third, on German cinema this Berlinale. Many of these films have premiered late in the festival, which means the usual two to four showings are scheduled back-to-back, and there's less time for word-of-mouth to spread. I've just attended Pink, which had premiered only last night. This film is archetypal in that it couldn't be a more perfect representation of a film one would never, in one's entire life, ever want to waste 9 minutes on, much less 90. It is insults the intelligence of its audience, of women, and of the men who have any interest in them. And it does so in a way that is not even worth the words to describe; suffice it to say that it will undoubtedly do just fine on German television, for which it was apparently made, according to the Lively German who spotted the tell-tale clues in the credits. WHAT THE HELL IS THE BERLINALE DOING, SCREENING MADE-FOR-TV FILM??? And in the "Special" section, no less! Special, my ass.

I stood up in the Q&A and asked, rhetorically, how was it the Berlinale permitted such a thing. The Berlinale staff manning the Q&A had nothing to say, and the director's response was "I made the film I wanted to make and it's too bad if you didn't like it." My reaction to this film is rather along the lines of that for the equally scintillating Girls Lie, a stellar example of male directors doing just as they please, from the 2nd Berlin Porn Film Festival. One certainly can't argue with their right to do just that, but I want to know how many of his family, mistresses, and/or debtors are reviewers for the Berlinale Special section?! I demand a refund: 7 euros down the tube. As for the 90 minutes plus 30 (as I simply couldn't let something like that go without participating in the Q&A), well, that's added one more frown line that I certainly did not need.

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