The relationship of art and politics was no tightwalk but the main attraction at this year's Berlin festival. What if every cultural event was cancelled because of what people had to say? Could films at film festivals stand on their own artistic merits, not for star power or industry wattage but for controversial stories and themes? At this year's Berlin Film festival which ended on February 16, heavy hitters with Oscar nominations like The Hours, Gangs of New York, Chicago
played second fiddle to films with political relevance today. As proof Michael Winterbotten's digital semi-documentary from the UK, In this World
won the coveted Golden Bear, a film about two Afghan refugees who seek refuge in Pakistan after the US military bombed their home. Stars far from Hollywood took the opportunity to proclaim their opposition to the Bush administration's threat to attack Iraq. And long protests lined the streets of a city destroyed during World War II as parallel events took place all over the world.
Laura Bush recently cancelled a White House Poetry reading of American poets scheduled for February 12, fearing that politics would interfere with the event, namely anti war protests which later came in droves.
Which should concern the organizers of this year's Oscars. Without canceling the event such as Laura Bush did, how will it be possible to quiet the voices of actors and movie makers, even it might displease the academy and the US government.
For Movie Magazine International, this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm SWEDEN.
© 2003 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 2/03
2003 Berlin Film Festival