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Berlinale Shuns Security, Promises Diversity

Mr. Berlinale, otherwise known as Dieter Kosslick. Source: DPA
Mr. Berlinale, otherwise known as Dieter Kosslick.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Despite ongoing terrorism fears in the wake of the Paris attacks, the director of German film festival Berlinale remains committed to a diverse and hard-hitting program.

  • Facts


    • The Berlinale is one of Europe’s most important film festivals alongside Cannes and Venice.
    • It shows about 400 films and attracts international stars, such as George Clooney and Juliette Binoche.
    • The 65th Berlinale will take place in Germany’s capital from February 5 to 15.
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Since taking over the helm of the Berlinale in 2001, Dieter Kosslick has increased the festival’s program diversity and its importance on the international film circuit. He spoke to the Tagespiegel newspaper about the highlights of this year’s festival.

Tagespiegel: Mr. Kosslick, what do you have to say about Charlie Hebdo?

Dieter Kosslick: After the attacks in Paris, we asked ourselves if we are reflecting society with our program. And I think we are, throughout all the sections.

Is there more security at this year’s Berlinale?

There are more security measures, but just as discreet as before. A Berlinale under police protection would send the wrong signal. We aren’t putting “Je suis Charlie” on our flags. We already had two years with such themes – “Towards Tolerance” in 2003 and “Accept Diversity” in 2002. We could print it again on our T-shirts, but it’s more important to bring these slogans to life through our program.

How political is the film festival this year?

Sometimes, I think we’re the nightly news. There are no geopolitical issues missing from our program: the collateral damage from globalization, the repercussions of the financial crisis, the millions of refugees, natural disasters, torture, ethnic cleansing. In the competition, we’re showing Patricio Guzmáns documentary “El botón de nácar.” A button is discovered on a iron rod in the ocean, the last evidence of the gruesome fate of 3,000 Chileans, who were tortured and thrown out of helicopters into the sea strapped to iron rods. The film makes clear that pogroms don’t fall out of the sky, but are centuries in the making.

What about religion?

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