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The Berlinale Blog: Less is more

The art of going to the Berlinale is about making a few well-chosen hits. Don't go gorging yourself on cinema just for the sake of it. You'll just make yourself sick.

One of these days I'll kill that bear. Photo: Gerhard Schneibel

Last year, I watched something like 34 films at the Berlinale. I don’t why – I was young, I was crazy, I didn’t get invited to any parties. That was an average of 3.4 films a day, if you don’t count the first day, which you shouldn’t, because there’s only one film on.

This, of course, is completely light-weight. Other people buy an accreditation, bid farewell to their loved ones, sign away their property insurance, and take 10 day’s supply of hard biscuits and tea into movie world. They deodorize in the Cinemaxx bathrooms and count out coins for the coffee machines. I have met people who have seen close to 50 movies in the ten days.

But my 30+ year did me no good. I was hungry and needed the toilet most of the time. But worse, I only actually liked one in five of the films I saw. That means I liked 6.8 films. Not because the other films were bad, just because …. no actually, a lot of them were really bad (I can still sharply feel the relief when I realized I didn’t have to sit all the way through My Name is Khan, and there was once a film called Julia that irritated me in an extremely deep way) … but also because of the hollow plastic dehydrated man I had become.

This year, with my average down to about 1.6 films a day, I am a much brighter, healthier person. The films I saw just seemed so much better, and I feel like a tougher, more independent person. The space between films is like a vitamin.