Skip to main content
Berlin's official travel website

Review of the Berlinale 2023

And the Golden Bear goes to ...

In the cinema
In the cinema © Getty Images, Foto: David Saium/EyeEm

The festival is over. For ten days, the film world looked to Berlin. The Berlinale lived up to its reputation as a political festival, at the same time spreading glitz and glamour and, above all, achieving the most important thing of all: people flocked to the cinemas again, talked about films and realised how important the shared experience of watching films on the big screen is. And so the first post-Corona Berlinale probably achieved its most important goal.

There were small obstacles, for example, the absence of the Berlinale queue and the decentralisation of the festival simply meant that there was no place for exchange. Perhaps next year a place could be created somewhere where everyone could meet and talk about films, with sofa groups divided up by film or section.

But that didn't dampen the mood, the halls were well filled. And - this is probably the most important thing - there were many great films to see, new voices, new faces to discover. Not only the Competition, especially the other sections, offered a lot of excitement.

My favourites:

My favourite in the competition and in the whole festival was Past Lives, a tender touching film that resonates for a long time. It is not a beautiful love story, but also a reflection on love and life. It was one of the audience favourites, but unfortunately did not win a bear.

Le grand Chariot was a beautiful film, perhaps not the most exciting and innovative, but very charming.

The most visually exciting opening was without doubt L'ultimo notte di Amore with its night flight over Milan. The film can't quite keep it up, but the scene was terrific.

And the most haunting acting performance for me was that of Lucas Ferro in Desperté con un sueño, who portrays his Felipe with incredible intensity. Especially the casting scenes, in which he plays himself twice, so to speak, are of a force that you would hardly believe a child actor to have. Truly a discovery.

The magical Berlinale moment:

And there was one of those Berlinale moments that will be forever etched in one's memory: When the audience celebrated Steven Spielberg with standing ovations that lasted for minutes and he received his Golden Bear visibly moved. And everyone was united in their love of film and their belief in the magic of cinema.

There were also a few disappointments:

Of course, there were also some disappointments: Neither Perpetrators by Jennifer Reeder nor the film about Ingeborg Bachmann were convincing. Ming On was a witless spectacle without a spark of what once made the great Hong Kong films, and Menodrome, too, really had no business being in the competition.

Exuberant mood at the films of Generation

Many films in the Generation section, which told stories of children and young people from all over the world, were also particularly beautiful. And with Disco Queen, the Scandinavian filmmakers proved once again that it is always worth watching their films in this section.

On Sunday the festival ended with the Audience Day, when the cinemas filled up again - and a huge queue formed in front of the Berlinale Palast.

There was also the opportunity to see the winners of the Berlin Audience Awards and thus the audience's favourites.

And then the fanfare sounded for the very last time and the bear lit up in the rain of stars - and then they were over, the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival.

See you all again in February 2024 - at the next Berlinale.