The latest from our German Editor, Josef Gruebl:
If you speak to Berlinale-experts, you will no doubt hear about the oldest festival rule ever: you should only see films that are very unlikely to come to normal cinemas. For instance, a black-and-white Hungarian picture about a stubborn horse; or a gay film from Lithuania; or alternatively, a four-and-a-half hour film from Japan about the revenge obsessions of an eight-year-old.
Bearing this in mind, it was strange to see tickets for films like The King’s Speech running out of stock quickest. Although the story of the stammering king, George VI, comes to German cinemas this week, there was something alluring about seeing it at Berlinale, in the presence of Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter.
Colin Firth described the king’s struggles with making a speech, “There was a boxing match going on inside his body.” He admitted that it wasn’t an easy task to learn how to stammer, nor was stopping it afterwards. “Afterwards my speech was even less fluent than normal, for some time, but I don’t think that’s stammering, that’s just a habit.”
During her visit to Berlin, Helena Bonham Carter was showing symptoms of acute tiredness. It was no wonder, as her agenda was tight: besides The King’s Speech, she was also presenting a charming coming-of-age film Toast, which is based on childhood memories of a British food guru Nigel Slater, in which Carter plays his evil stepmother; a perfect role perhaps?
Whilst Bonham Carter is in her element as the evil stepmother with dyed blond hair and an apron around her waist, so is Irishman Brendan Gleeson in a cop thriller The Guard. He plays a naïve countryside policeman, chasing drug dealers alongside a surly American FBI agent (Don Cheadle). His performance of a witty and politically incorrect character deserves the best actor award. Unfortunately, the film is showing out of competition, so no Golden Bear for Brendan.