Screenings with an audience: Berlinale takes place under 2-G-plus conditions

Demonstrations with an audience
Berlinale takes place under 2-G-plus conditions

The Berlinale begins on February 10th. It has long been speculated how the film festival will deal with the current high number of infections. Now the organizers are presenting their concept and at the same time announcing details about the program.

The Berlinale 2022 should take place in February despite the increased number of infections – but with stricter rules. The capacity in the cinemas will be limited, and the 2G-plus rule will apply. “We are aware of the challenges that arise as a result of the unpredictable course of the pandemic,” announced the festival management. At the same time, culture plays an elementary role in society.

Along with Cannes and Venice, the Berlinale is one of the world’s major film festivals. The next issue should start in four weeks. The festival will then open on February 10th with the new film by French director François Ozon – the film is called “Peter von Kant” and is taking part in the competition.

In the past few weeks there have been several speculations about what will become of the Berlinale. After the latest decisions by the federal government and the Berlin Senate, the hygiene and safety measures have been checked again, the message said. The format and concept have been changed in accordance with the pandemic. According to this, only people who have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus or have recovered from an infection should have access. You also need a corona test and mouth and nose protection.

Parties and receptions fall flat

The concept also provides for a fundamental reduction in space in the cinemas to 50 percent, it said. “Due to the pandemic, parties and receptions will not be able to take place.” For film teams, however, there will be appearances on the red carpet “in a reduced format”. However, at first it was not known who can and will ultimately arrive. Filmmakers from many countries usually come to the Berlinale.

Parts of the festival will be moved to the Internet, such as the European Film Market trade fair and the Talents series for young filmmakers. The number of infections in Germany is currently increasing sharply. According to the Robert Koch Institute, more than 80,000 new infections were registered within a day for the first time. Internationally, some cultural events were recently canceled. The Sundance Film Festival in the USA has been moved to the Internet, and the awarding of the Grammy Awards has been postponed for the time being.

The Berlinale had to reschedule last year, but is now sticking to a presence festival despite the spread of the Omikron variant. The opening is still planned for February 10th. “For this year’s opening we were looking for a film that could bring lightness and verve into our dreary everyday life,” said the artistic director Carlo Chatrian. Ozone’s film is a free interpretation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s masterpiece “The bitter tears of Petra von Kant”.

Signal of hope for the film industry

In the days after that, film teams are supposed to present their films as usual. The award ceremony is brought forward to February 16. Thereafter there should be several public days until February 20th. Cinema associations rated the plans as a signal of hope for the industry. Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth also sees this as a signal to the film industry, the audience and the cultural scene. “We want to make the Berlinale possible and based on the state of the art today we can achieve that,” she said. Of course, this is only possible with painful cuts and with “constant vigilance” these days. “The pandemic situation is dynamic and the Berlinale is adapting to the challenges.”

Film teams have a long lead time to plan their appearance. The first names of the program have already been announced. The French actress Isabelle Huppert is to receive the Honorary Golden Bear at the Berlinale. Director M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense”) was selected as the jury president. The whole program is to be published next Wednesday (January 19th).

The Berlinale is considered a special public festival because, in addition to professionals from the film and media industry, there are also many visitors there. Before the pandemic, more than 300,000 tickets were regularly sold for the film screenings. According to a festival spokeswoman, it is still being checked whether a booster vaccination will be accepted as a substitute for a test in the current edition. In the past year, journalists watched films online, which is not planned this time.

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