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    Volume 8 Issue 59 | February 27, 2009 |

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Film Festival

Berlinale 2009

Catching the Pulse of the World

Nazmun Nesa Piari

Aishwarya Rai with her Pink Panther co-actors. Photo Credit: Nazmun Nesa Piari

Before the beginning of this year's 59th Berlinale there was some fear that the burgeoning financial crisis might put it's shadow over Berlin's famous film festival. But fortunately this did not happen. The number of films viewers went up by almost 20 percent to a total of one hundred and seventy thousand in Berlin's film -theatres between February 5 and 15. Compared to last year, when the Rolling Stones and Madonna came to the festival this year's Berlinale was not dominated by stars, although Kate Wnslet, Michelle Pfiefer Demi Moore came and the jury had Tilda Swinton as chair. But the festival was dominated by young director's movies --- especially from developing countries. This is true for the winner of the Golden Bear for the best film La Teta Austada (Milk of Sorrow) from Peru directed by a 32 year old Claudia Llosa, as well as the movie Gigantes from Uruguay which won three prizes. The winner of Berlin Today Award (My Wall) recieved a lot of attention and applause. So did Suprio Sen from India with his short film Wagah. In this movie he describes how every evening thousands of people on both sides of the border come to watch the military ceremony of the lowering of the flag by the Indians and the Pakistanis. The event is seen with the eyes of three young Indian boys which gives this movie a human touch. The movie was not just shown in the Talent Campus but also on the last evening in the prize giving ceremony in front of a big crowd. It was the idea of Director, Dieter Kosslick and this short film in one moment, won the hearts of all the guests. Another Indian presence was Aishwarya Rai who stars in the movie Pink Panther 2.

Like before this time too Berlinale proved that this is not a place where Hollywood movies win the prizes but a "superb arena for movies that may not be cash generators but have important things to say about the destiny of human beings in the political background they are in. The winner of the Golden Bear La Tela Austada describes the destiny of a young Peruvian woman. Fausta is ill with a disease contracted from her mother's breast milk known as The Milk of Sorrow, however this is not a sickness caused by bacteria or infection. It is a condition that only affects those women in Peru who were abused and raped during the years of terrorist struggle between 1980 and 2000. Although this terrible period is now history, Fausta is none-the-less a living reminder of this time. Her sickness is called Fear and it has robbed her of her soul. When her mother suddenly dies Fausta is forced to face her fears. Fausta then sets out on a journey that will lead her out of her fear and into freedom. The director of the movie Claudia LIosa with her memories addresses a dark era of her country’s history. Established in 2001 -- a commission for truth reconciliation., has registered 70,000 murder cases as well as countless rapes, abduction and other human right abuses in Peru during that period.

A Silver Bear for the best actor was given to Sotgui Kouyate from Mali for his role in the movie London River. The award for best actress was given to Birgit Minichmayr from Australia for her role in the German movie Alle Anderen.

This year's Berlinale was opened with the US--German movie (Holywood production with the German directo Tom Tykwer) The Internationl. It is a political thriller about illegal activities in the most powerful banks in the world. It proved to be very topical in the light of the gobal financial crisis. Berlinale's Director Dieter Kosslick even remarked that the reality of the world financial crisis has gone beyond this movie.

Berlinale again has proved it's excellent instinct with regard to catching the pulse of global sensibilities.

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