Since it is doubtful I will ever get around to writing a proper recount of this month’s cultural outings, here are a couple random thoughts instead:
- Despite my impression of the past few years that Japanese cinema was losing ground to more daring, less formulaic Korean filmmakers such as Park Chan-wook, Japanese movies were particularly well represented at the Berlinale and fared pretty well.
- Of the three screening we attended, Korean movie Ki-chin was definitely the weakest: beautiful photography, unfortunately undermined by a contrived plot and the least engaging depictions of food I have ever seen in a food-oriented movie (not to mention terminally inept subtitling work, which made it difficult to follow even basic dialogues).
- Yoji Yamada‘s films were of a much higher grade. Friday’s première screening of Kyoto Uzumasa Monogatari was a nice prelude to the more involved Ototo, on Sunday. Both had a rather typical Japanese vibe of quiet everyday life events mixed with deeper topics that never take themselves too seriously. Still not convinced about the Japanese conception of slapstick physical humour as the height of comic relief, but overall good movies.
- Thanks to Berlin’s opulence in Opera venues, we obtained last minute tickets for a representation of my all-time favourite (my undying love of Verdi’s works, over any Bellini, Wagner or even Mozart, is a clear reflection of my mundane operatic tastes, sure, but I stand by it).
- Musical happiness.
- Small aside: people who can’t help loudly coughing, right in the middle of Violetta’s dying aria, deserve to be put to a slow and painful death. I don’t care how much your throat itches: put a lid on it or stay home. And while we are at it: do not clap at the end of every single fucking scene. Keep it limited to the overture, the end of each act and at most a few noteworthy arias and find something else to keep your hands and cerebral-motor cortex busy.