Much was discussed at this Berlinale, whether Netflix productions belong to the competition. But then the Golden Bear earned the classic movie "Synonymes".
The sex scene with the octopus is one of the moments that will be remembered by this Berlinale. The sequence was filmed by Catalan director Isabel Coixet for her love drama "Elisa y Marcela", which competed with 15 other films in the competition for the Golden Bear. These are two young women who meet each other at the end of the 19th century in a Galician convent school, fall in love with each other and start a relationship – a scandal for the arch-Catholic rural population.
Anyway, one of the girls suddenly pulls a dead, slippery cuttlefish out of the tub during lovemaking and pinches it between her and her partner while caressing each other's breasts. This is one of those typical festival moments, which, in addition to many good films, also returns every year at the Berlinale: a director or director shoots over the mark and the cinema audience no longer knows whether they are laughing or strangers in their chairs will sink.
But for another reason, "Elisa y Marcela" will go down in the Berlinale annals. The film was the first in-house production of the streaming service Netflix, which was invited to the main competition. This led to protests from German cinema operators during the festival, arguing that a state-subsidized cultural event such as the Berlinale should not lapse into the temptations of American online media. Instead, the art of cinema must be protected.
That is a comprehensible wish. But it would be out of touch with reality if the German festival industry did not react to the tectonic shifts in the entertainment industry. Why, squid and squid, it was right to include this movie in the program. In the future it will be difficult for Berlin, without Netflix, Amazon and co., To put together a competition program.
Because the streaming services are no longer just the big direct stars under contract, but with artists like Isabel Coixet also many filmmakers from the middle-class directors. This also applies to Germany. During the Berlinale alone Netflix announced three more German feature film in-house productions.
In addition, not only the German film industry has to come to terms with Netflix, but vice versa. In the last days of the festival came the news that the company will pay in future after years of dispute in the German film promotion. This was agreed Netflix and the German Film Fund (FFA), as a spokeswoman for the FFA of the world confirmed. All companies that earn money in Germany for the commercial exploitation of films have to pay into the FFA pot. That Netflix supports the local industry not only by direct investments in own films, but also by indirect donations, is one of the good news of this festival. Because it has a signal effect. For example, for other major US companies such as Google and Apple, which also enter the competitive market for in-house productions.
Mafia critic Roberto Saviano was honored for the best script
At the award ceremony on Saturday in the Berlinale-Palast there was no further discussion about streaming, and "Elisa y Marcela" went blank. Instead, the international jury headed by jury president Juliette Binoche did something that is almost unaccustomed to film festivals: it unerringly made the best contributions.
For the best screenplay, the Italian mafia critic Roberto Saviano was honored, together with his co-authors Maurizio Braucci and Claudio Giovannesi. They tell in their thriller "La paranza dei bambini" of disillusioned young people in Naples, which slide into organized crime. The film is a thriller, but also a protest against Italian politics, leaving the teenagers alone. "To tell the truth in our country has become very complex," said Saviano on stage.