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Berlinale Blog: The media and movie stars

Thanks to Herr Drumpf, there's a new solidarity between reporters and movie stars. He can't decide whom he hates more.

Image for Berlinale Blog: The media and movie stars
Diego Luna, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Julia Jentsch at Berlinale 2017. Photo by Maximilian Bühn (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Diego Luna, the rogue one in Rogue One, had the best line at Thursday’s jury press conference: “I am here to investigate how to tear down walls. Apparently there are many experts here and I want to bring that information back to Mexico.” The actor then ruined it a bit by going on about all the “love stories” he has that involve crossing the USA’s southern border four times a month, but this confusing waffle-lapse didn’t stop the joke getting a decent round of applause to punctuate it.

I know it sounds a bit that way but I’m not taking the piss. Paul Verhoeven and the rest of the people on the star panel may not have noticed (I was quite near the back), but the rise of America’s 45th president has given me a new solidarity with the Hollywood elite. Hacks have been declared the “opposition” by the US’s tangerine administration, and the only white people the SB/DT axis despises more are Hollywood celebrities. In the anatomy of antagonism inside Bannon’s brain, people with dark skin fleeing death and misery take up one lobe, while actors and journalists occupy the same hate-category.

Es schweißt zusammen, as the Germans say. It fell to the jury’s US representative Maggie Gyllenhaal (always admired the organisation of letters in that name, the Scandinavian coupling of ‘g’s and ‘a’s, even if the ‘l’s are let down by that straggler at the end, and using a ‘y’ as a mid-word vowel is always satisfying) to apologise for her country. “It’s an amazing time to be an American at an international festival,” she said, bending the word amazing into new shapes, before adding that she wanted people to know that many of her compatriots were “willing to resist”. It was good that she said it, but even as we recorded her words we knew that the brooding maniacs in the White House will only hate us more for it.

Other outlets have suggested that this is the most un-American Berlinale for a while. There was no star-heavy Hollywood opener like in previous years – instead we got an under-baked TV movie biopic. But this ain’t no time for us to be taking swings at compassionate movies. There were Nazis and borders, and the film had a humane message: actually, it’s not okay to murder whole ethnic groups. Also it had an angry octogenarian woman. And a monkey. And it was beautiful for that. I guess that counts as political now.