You might think the Berlinale is for cineastes. People who like films and such. People for whom watching people walk around on a windy day is infinitely enhanced if it’s in the form of a single, 15-minute tracking shot in black and white. Very patient people, in other words. They’ll be such patient people that when you point out to them nothing is happening, they will nod patiently and say, “that’s the whole point.” They are often into “alienation,” and things being “astonishing” and “visceral.”
What with it being a film festival showing about 400 films from all around the world – an astonishing and visceral kaleidoscope of alienation in modern life, or a celebration of the infinite universes you can create with mere shadows and light – this seems plausible enough.
But in fact you don’t have to be that kind of person to enjoy the Berlinale. For instance, you could just be someone who wants to have sex with a film nerd. If that is the case, you will almost certainly be in luck, even though you shouldn’t try anything in the cinema itself. Like popcorn, moist fumbling in the back row is very much frowned upon at the Berlinale. People will turn round and literally frown upon you if you attempt hanky-panky. They might nod patiently at first, but then they will frown. Mark my words.
You might also be the kind of person who just likes sitting in a very crowded, dark space. Again, in that case the Berlinale is certainly for you.
Or, you might be the kind of person who can’t be bothered to talk to other people, but also likes to feel they are part of something big and exciting. In that case, the Berlinale is basically paradise for you. You anti-social types will be constantly surrounded by people who you don’t have to talk to.
The experience of spending the entire day in a cinema, either by watching five films in a row or one film by Bela Tarr, generally results in a sort of soul-starvation, a sort of schizophrenia that some people actually find comforting. If you are into that, then you too will enjoy the Berlinale.