After enduring a tough year in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, major cinema festivals decided to adopt new ways to save their 2021 editions.
The Berlin International Film Festival was the first big fest this year and its 71st edition was held online for the first time in history.
The festival was divided into two stages. The first was the Industry Days, taking place between 1 and 5 March, including platforms such as the European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents, and the World Cinema Fund.
The films selected for this edition were screened online for industry representatives and accredited members of the press without the usual red carpet gala celebration. However, there is hope to have such celebration in the second stage of the Berlinale, the planned public summer special, from 9 to 20 June 2021 if the precautionary measures against the coronavirus are eased.
Many filmmakers regreted the cancelation of the red carpet gala to celebrate their film premiers in this important festival, but Golden Bear winner Radu Jude thought differently.
The Romanian director said at a press conference held for his new film titled Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn: “I never liked red carpets and this kind of stuff, because I think that the essence of cinema is to be a serious art and a serious discipline, I would like it to be treated seriously.
“When they put people on the red carpet with fancy dresses, fancy costumes, and all this glamour, I always want to shy away because my beliefs in cinema don't have anything to do with all this clowning around,” said Jude.
“Many friend journalists wrote on the internet that the Berlinale selection was quite good this year, and if this is only because we took out the red carpet maybe we should keep it this way."
Jude criticised the small festivals and competitions that imitate the Oscar’s celebrations and red carpet habits. “The Berlinale is still a glamorous place for sure, when it happens physically, but we see these imitations even locally in Romania with the Gopo Awards and other national festivals which are just a pale copy of the Oscar's.”
“We see people dressed in fancy clothes and talking about designers. I am not against that, but I am completely outside of this. I never go to this kind of festivals because I believe that cinema should be treated differently,” added Jude.
“In book fairs we don’t see people with fancy dresses, only people who love books and authors coming to meet them, and even with theatre festivals we don’t see this.”
Jude expressed his happiness with the Berlinale's online edition, saying “I understand that red carpets are the price festivals have to pay sometimes, but it wasn't the case this year and I am quite happy about it. No red carpet."
He commented on watching films online and not on cinema screens. “I am not a purist about watching films in cinema halls. Of course I prefer that, but I watched most of the great films on my laptop or on television, I couldn’t see them otherwise. So I don’t see it as a problem, on the contrary it was very good.”
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