If you are wondering what the Berlinale bear is doing in the poster above, I'll tell you. He's most probably searching for the Eddielicious truck, that's what! Eddie's original, all vegetarian Mexican food is the stuff dreams are made of. So who can blame lonely big bear for trying to find it in a closed Chinese food stand... Yes, Eddie's food is that good and for Valentine's Day he had a basket of heart shaped and cherry filled chocolates to hand out to every customer. What a dreamboat!
But back to cinema.
The day started with a long, leisurely talk with Algerian-Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz and the two men who are the center of his latest film, 'Central Airport THF' -- Ibrahim Al Hussein from Syria and Qutaiba Nafea from Iraq. I won't talk about the film itself until it premieres tonight since the festival here in Berlin is quite strict about embargoes and more power to them for that! But I will say that some films really grow more special and important once the intention of their filmmaker becomes clear. In simpler words, sitting down with Aïnouz made his latest project wildly more interesting, because of who he is but also because of his subjects' backstories -- both refugees who are in Germany after escaping from their war-torn countries.
Yes, we do get a very good, thorough sense of that in 'Central Airport THF' but from a human point of view, it's always so great to have a personal connection. More on the film in the next Diaries.
My downtime at Berlinale has been spent inside the Golden Bear Lounge by Glashütte, a little corner of heaven in Berlin to which you have to be especially invited. I was generously offered a festival-long membership and so for me the in-between moments I have typically struggled with during past editions, seeking refuge from the cold inside a mall or a coffee shop, are now spent in the calm and comfort of the Golden Bear Lounge.
Hospitality is their middle name it seems, and with a cup of espresso in hand and a full visual onto the daily red carpet action, this is truly the most luxurious aspect of this year's Berlinale for me. Plus, they are the company behind the Glashütte Original Documentary Award, for which a few of my favorite films so far are nominated. Kudos to an iconic watch brand for supporting cinema with a conscience.
My afternoon --, don't hate me -- was spent in the company of none other than Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Bryan Cranston, Bob Balaban and Liev Schreiber. As a wonderful friend wrote in an email earlier today, "Nina, even your most hectic and difficult times are spent in the company of such wonderful men!" Yes. I told you, don't hate me. It's part of my job but I'll admit it, the part I love most of all.
Hearing of Goldblum's brush with Federico Fellini in Cinecittà years ago, of Wes Anderson's attention to details with his actors, down to their underwear -- I swear! -- from Bob Balaban, watching Schreiber blush when I told him the dog he voiced in 'Isle of Dogs' has his iconic, beautiful blue eyes and sitting across from Bill Murray dressed like a cool California beach dude in his skeleton cowboy t-shirt and blue surfer pants with pink flowers, made me realize how lucky I am to do what I do.
Now off to more talks, films and interviews. With some lunch in between, of course! Meet you at the food trucks...