Break at the Berlinale

All of a sudden my study abroad is halfway over; 8 weeks in and 8 weeks left. For those of us on the program, this halfway point marked our “Spring” break and a nice chance to unwind from a tense midterm period. While I have enjoyed London and the United Kingdom, I decided that I wanted to spend my week in continental Europe. I bandied about a few different ideas, such as exploring the landscapes of Norway or the history of France, but a lot of the things I’d love to do require more than a week. I decided to look up if there was anything related to movies or music going on at the time and found out that one of the largest public international film festivals in the world would be hosting its 70th anniversary during the time. As a film production student I knew that this was an experience I did not want to miss out on.

Traveling in an international setting from England to Germany posed some interesting challenges for scheduling. Due to bad weather, my first flight was delayed three hours when I only had a two hour layover, forcing me to reschedule my entire trip. However, the rescheduled trip ended up getting delayed two and a half hours when my layover was two hours and forty five minutes long. This led to me praying that we would get there just late enough to get rescheduled because I knew that I would likely make the flight but that my bag had no chance. Luckily we got there just late enough that I was given a new flight entirely and made the second leg without any further complications. I ended up arriving six hours later than expected, but my AirBnB host was gracious none the less.

I had a wonderful time in Berlin once I got there. The city was alive with the excitement of the Berlinale and it made it a wonderful time to visit. My original plan had been to see about five movies and five museums, but I ended up swinging to watching nine films and visiting only two museums. I do not regret this decision at all as the films were a fascinating departure from the film watching experience in the United States. Of the nine films I saw, seven of them were part of the Berlinale Competition, the main event of the festival. I did not end up seeing the Golden Bear—the winner of best film in the competition—but my favorite film did end up taking home the Silver Bear for Best Script. One of the more unique elements of an international festival is the opportunity to see projects from around the world. Only three of the films I saw were primarily in English, and even those each came from a different place.

I ended up seeing films from: Australia, Italy, South Korea, Italy again, the United States, the United Kingdom, French Cambodia, France, and Russia

My return flight was similar to my flight to Berlin, though the delays were not as dramatic. Given the first batch, I was more prepared for this and did not need to stress whatsoever. I know a lot of my peers in the area went to a variety of places for their break week, but I am glad that I spent the full trip in one place getting to better appreciate it than I would during a brief stay.