Highlights From the Berlin Film Festival 2024

February wouldn’t end without the iconic Berlin International Film Festival and the 2024 red carpet was rolled out for celebrities, filmmakers, and critics from all over the world on 15th February. Here is everything that went down. 

Opening & Presenters

Lupita Nyong'o

The opening night of the 74th Berlin Film Festival was star-struck, to say the least. The hosts of the night included Hadnet Tesfai and Jo Schück and the international jury for the Main Competition are: 

    • Lupita Nyong’o, Kenyan-Mexican actress and the first-ever African Jury president 
    • American filmmaker Brady Corbet
    • Ann Hui, actress, and director from China 
    • Christian Petzold, representing German direction 
  • Italian film director & actress, Jasmine Trinca 
  • Seasoned Spanish filmmaker Albert Serra 
  • Oksana Zabuzhko, poet and novelist from Ukraine 

Cinematic Features

Cillian Murphy

The red carpet of Berlinale kicked off with the world premiere of Small Things Like These, starring Cillian Murphy, Emily Watson, and Michelle Fairley and directed by Tim Mielants. Other features in the Main Competition include: 

  • American-Mexican film La cocina 
    • Italian documentary film Architecton 
  • French romantic-drama Black Tea 
  • Austrian-German horror film The Devil’s Bath
  • Iranian film My Favorite Cake
  • South Korean drama-film, A Traveler’s Needs

The Berlinale Special list consists of films: 

  • American horror film Cuckoo, starring Hunter Schafer, Dan Stevens and Jessica Henwick
  • Romantic-thriller Love Lies Bleeding, starring Kristen Stewart, Dave Franco and Katy O’Brian
  • German tragicomedy Treasure
  • South Korean crime film The Roundup: Punishment, among many others. 

Political Hiccups

Mariette Rissenbeek, Kristen Stewart, and Golshifteh Farahani among others for the Iranian Protests At the Berlinale

The opening night of the 74th Berlin Film Festival was all but uneventful. The back-and-forth dilemma of inviting AfD members and far-right politicians to the Berlinale and severe public backlash ultimately caused the official withdrawal. 

Iranian travel ban was also a problem since a handful of the festival’s main competition directors were unable to travel to Berlin, because of passport confiscation issues. 

Gaza adversity and Germany’s alliance with the USA was also another area of concern and many festival officials raised their voices on the clouds of misery looming in the Middle East

African Cinema Takes Center Stage

The selection of Lupita Nyong’o as the Berlinale’s jury president is a glorious highlight for the African film industry. Oscar Award winner and 12 Years A Slave actress, Lupita Nyong’o is the first ever Black African woman to preside the Berlinale international jury and this is the second consecutive time that a woman has headed the Berlin International Film Festival jury. Berlinale directors Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian have praised Nyong’o’s dedication, versatility, and experience in the film industry. 

Who Walked the Walk? 

Hunter Schafer

Celebrities who graced the red carpet with their presence include Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Christian Friedel, Hannah Herzsprung, Eileen Walsh, Renate Reinsve, Jessica Henwick, Adam Pearson, Sebastian Stan, Alonso Ruizpalacios, Anna Diaz, Rooney Mara, Lily Farhadpour, Esmaeel Mehrabi, Sabrina Amali, Hunter Schafer, Greta Fernández, Raúl Briones Carmona, Tilman Singer and jury members. 

The 74th Berlin International Film Festival will wrap up on 25th February. Although things were initially bumpy, it’s encouraging to see one of Europe’s epic festivals embrace inclusivity. 

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