The Berlinale just started. The world’s film culture spotlights are turned towards Postdamer Platz. We want to take part. Who doesn’t? Quick! Find a ticket, if they are ticket left. Or many tickets, if you really want to feel in a festival… and afford it when you have a usual young-European’s-precarious-shitty-contract. Stand in line, queue in the mass… the red carpets, the flashes, the glamor, the fans screaming, the crazy beauty –belleza loca– that you are trying to belong to. The Berlinale.
In the meanwhile in a tiny street of Neukölln, one of the most popular colorfully, densely populated immigrants neighborhoods, a small film festival starts as an alternative answer to the same duty. Boddinstraße is a kilometers-away-from-Postdamer-Platz reality, mostly populated by old school immigrant families, many unpayed-artist, jobless, new-European-wave immigrants discovering that “this is not an Erasmus”… some gentrification hipsters and some airBNB users washing their guilty feelings in BIO-markets. Life is hard in Neukölln.
The 3rd Boddinale counts on a couple of spaces (Loophole and Kaleidoskop, Boddinstraße 60 and 7), 5 projection rooms, courtesy of the latter as cultural project spaces, art-galleries and bars… or even all simultaneously: in Neukölln it usual to find them mixed. You can get a drink during the film. A beer cost 2 Euro —1 euro extra with the first beer for the cost of organizing—. Smoking is allowed. The directors are present and after each film they are available for discussion. There is a 3 square meters red carpet for them (the only red carpet in the festival). The interviews are absolut unprofessional. Moderators are sometimes little drunk or simply exhausted. Well, how much stuff counts the Berlinale with?… Apart from this, no queues, no reservations, no 10 euro tickets, no tickets at all, no queuing in the mass, no flashes, no fans screaming, no stress for anything… —but maybe for finding a chair or a pillow or a beer box to sit on it—. When we think of the Berlinale magnificence, the Boddinale is just humbler, smaller, simpler, deadly cheaper and much cozier. And most important… surprise: the films are great too.
The festival opened its doors on Tuesday (too). The audience only needed 22 seconds to warm up with “Kattputccino”, by Kuesti Fraum/motbik, a humoristic video art tragedy about absurdity of life: What if a coffee, the fact of drinking a coffee, were out of order? What a good start with a solidary smile of bewilderment.
After this 22 hilarious seconds short film, Tiyam Yabandeh broughting us back into dry reality with a story about a trial to keep human during the war in the middle east.
Some other nice shorts films were followed by a longer documentary, like little murmur coming from the empty streets of Tuesday evening. “Berlin spricht Wände” (“Berlin speaks walls”), —by Markus Muthig and the east cross project— is a documentary about street art. The cameras follow a couple of artists in their working day, which means mostly at night, on their journey through the city. The film is accompanied with a beautiful music, which lyrics are assembled by rapping what each graffiti says in the scream. It is a very special pulse and a hard editing work: building video and poetry at the same time. The result is awesome. Suddenly, the graffitis —ignored in their everyday life landscape—, emerge on their own surfaces. The city speaks… and it has so many things to say.
Looking for places for their expressivity, no matter where, on top of buildings, dividing walls, boring IT electric boxes, on the border of sidewalks… This artists take the city as a topography. Just because there is a wall, a ruin, a hole in the floor, a tower, any constructed masse, does not mean it can not be climbed, jumped over… taken by art. While we meekly move about the city by following streets, advises and rules that canalize our movements, those guys move about it across. Their art is transversal. Walls, obstacles and rules… they don’t see then as a limit anymore, but as canvas.
After watching “Berlin spricht Wände”, you leave the cinema with the impression of rediscovering your city, the millions of anonymous voices and intelligences inhabitating it skins, making town alive.
The next long film is a series project. “Tiger —Der Series—”, a comedy about the immigrated-anatolian-kreuzberger-experienced-supercool-guy cliché. The comedy explores this stereotype, so deeply humoristic, that the cliché itself touches its terrible ingenuity. Any critical position on those clichés get refreshed by a funny tender smile of empathy. “Tiger —Der Series—” is available on YouTube.
The night was closing with a sad shoot: Compressed in a couple of minutes, the night that one of the biggest street art pieces in Berlin, Cuvrystraße, was erased by its own authors, as a message for the real state developers, who were using this great piece of street art (a statement about freedom as street art, a statement against capitalism itself) to speculate and increase the cost of living in the city. In short words: a 70 m x 20 m “Fuck off!”.
There were some more films and there will be many more. The Berlinale will still run until February 25th. The Boddinale too, with the magnificience of its smaller, simpler, humbler and much cozier, unconditional welcoming you… everyday, at 18:00. The only negative, well… the crew, organisers and moderators drink sometimes too much. Apart of that and the absolut unprofessional interviews. You will be happy to be there