The 69th Berlin International Film Festival opened on February 7 in the German capital. Dieter Kosslick who has been the Director of the festival for 18 years (since May 2001) for the last time launched the show.
The festival was opened with the drama "The Kindness of Strangers" by the Danish director Lone Scherfig. The picture was presented by its actors—Bill Nighy and Zoe Kazan who together with Scherfig appeared on the red carpet.
The feature along with other 16 films has been included in the contest main screening program. "The Kindness of Strangers" tells us tragic story of a mother who with her two little children flees from her aggressive husband and has to make both ends meet in New York being destitute. Presenting her work, Sherfig said: "It is important to me to say just in our time: yes, the world has become more complicated, but there is light at the end of the tunnel."
British actor Bill Nighy, who played one of the key parts, added that "we need films that bring people together, not divide."
The French actress Juliette Binoche will head the jury of the Berlin Film Festival in 2019. The winners will be named on February 16, the same day the award ceremony will be held. The contest itself will end a day later.
Russia is presented on the festival by the film of Alexander Gorchilin "Acid" and the drama of Alexander Zolotukhin "Russian Boy". The "Acid" is included in the second significant program of the film festival named "Panorama" (till 1986 it was called "Information Screening"). The film "Russian Boy" takes part in the program "Forum".
The first Berlin Festival was opened by Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" on June 6, 1951. It was held on the initiative of the U.S. army officer Oscar Martei, who was engaged in cinema in the allied forces. The film critic Alfred Bauer became the Director of the screening. Then the festival awards were called "Berlin Bears", and only Hollywood movies were honored with them. According to the results of the first contest, one "Berlin bear" was given to Disney cartoon "Cinderella".
Now Berlinale in prestige is increasingly being placed on par with the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals. If earlier the German forum lost to the French and Italian shows on the composition of the star guests, now it has reached a new level in the last decade in this regard. From year to year, more than 300 thousand people in total attend the shows. Hundreds of films are presented in different programs, and thousands of journalists from all over the world request the accreditations.