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Berlin Film Festival: How well do you know the Berlinale?

The Berlinale Palast
The Berlinale Palast Copyright Berlinale
Copyright Berlinale
By David Mouriquand
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Put your knowledge to the test with our Berlin Film Festival quiz

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Think you’re a card-carrying film buff? But how much do you know about Europe’s largest film event, the Berlin Film Festival?

Time to put your knowledge to the test, with our 10-question quiz on the Berlinale, whose 73rd edition kicks off today.

Answers can be found at the bottom, with further explanations in some cases – no peeking!

1. The opening film of this year’s 73rd edition is She Came To Me, Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy starring Peter Dinklage, Anne Hathaway and Marisa Tomei. But what was the first Berlinale opening film at the Titania-Palast in Steglitz on 6 June 1951?

A. Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

B. John Huston’s The African Queen.

C. Disney’s Alice In Wonderland.

D. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

2. Approximately how many square meters of red carpet is rolled out each year during the film festival?

A. 1,000.

B. 1,500.

C. 2,000.

D. No one knows: it’s one of the Berlinale’s best kept secrets.

3. The top prize at the Berlinale is the Golden Bear, a statue designed by German sculptor Renée Sintenis. Why was the statuette redesigned in 1960?

A. It was too heavy: Sofia Loren dropped it on her foot in 1959 and broke her toe.

B. It needed some work done – eyelift, declawing, the works.

C. In order to raise its left arm as opposed to its right to avoid any unfortunate historic parallels.

D. Renée Sintenis wanted her signature stamp to be more visible.

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4. Delivering on the promise of drama in a slightly different way, the 20th edition of the Berlinale held in 1970 stirred the pot by awarding no official prizes. What happened?

A. The jury disagreed and resigned.

B. The awards were called off because of a terrorist threat.

C. It was a symbolic 20th-anniversary gesture: everyone’s a winner!

D. The award statuettes were lost, presumed stolen by delivery drivers. They were found a year later and the laureates of 1970 only got their award distinctions in 1971.

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5. The award for the country that has taken home the highest number of Golden Bears is…

A. France.

B. Germany.

C. USA.

D. UK.

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6. Who is the only filmmaker to have won the Golden Bear more than once?

A. Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

B. John Cassavetes.

C. Ang Lee.

D. Terrence Malick.

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7. Who was the first female filmmaker to win the Golden Bear?

A. Shamefully, no female filmmaker has ever won the Golden Bear.

B. Márta Mészáros in 1975.

C. Jasmila Žbanić in 2006.

D. Ildikó Enyedi in 2017.

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8. Tragedy struck the Berlinale in 2003 – what happened?

A. Jury member Kathryn Bigelow walked out of a Competition screening, yelling “Titanic’s a big pile of shit!”

B. George Clooney’s presence at the festival for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind provoked a wave of fainting spells, leading to a surge in hospitalisations in what has since been referred to as ‘Clooney Delirium’.

C. Renown French producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier succumbed to a heart attack in front of the Hyatt mid-festival.

D. The Golden Bear was accidentally decapitated on stage during the award ceremony, the first time the coveted statuette broke.

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9. In 2020, the Berlinale suspended a major award – the Alfred Bauer Prize – named after the festival’s founding director (1951 – 1976). Why?

A. The new Berlinale management deemed there were too many awards and it got the chop as part of a streamlining initiative.

B. It wasn’t suspended as such, just renamed The Alfie.

C. Bauer’s correspondence was published, in which he called cinema “the lowest artform” – hardly worthy of a namesake award.

D. It was revealed that Bauer had been an active high-ranking Nazi closely involved in a propaganda organisation set up by Goebbels.

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10. The 2021 Berlinale was unique, as it was the first edition to be postponed due to the pandemic. It took place in two stages (stage one for industry professionals and stage two later in the year for the public), and saw the introduction of non-gendered acting awards for the first time. What other ‘first’ made that year’s 71st edition stand out?

A: All members of the International Jury were past Golden Bear winners.

B: All members of the International Jury were actual bears drafted in from Berlin Zoological Garden… and they are delighted.

C: There was no International Jury and the winners were voted for by the public.

D: It was the first time all members of the International Jury were female.

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What’s your Berlinale film IQ? Answers (and explanations):

1) D; 2) B; 3) C;

4) A: The 1970 jury was so divided over the Vietnam war film o.k. by Michael Verhoeven that the members resigned.

5) C: The US have 13, followed by the UK with 9. France and Italy are joined third with 8 a piece, while Germany hold their own with 7 (5 for West Germany, 1 for East Germany, and 1 for Reunified Germany).

6) C: Twice, for The Wedding Banquet in 1993 and Sense And Sensibility in 1996.

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7) B: Only 7 women have won the Golden Bear. Hungarian filmmaker Márta Mészáros was the first in 1975 for her film Adoption. 2 years later, Larisa Shepitko won for her film The Ascent. We had to wait until 2006 for the next female winner, Jasmila Žbanić, who won for Grbavica. Then came Claudia Llosa for The Milk Of Sorrow in 2009, Ildikó Enyedi for On Body And Soul in 2017, Adina Pintilie for Touch Me Not in 2018 and Carla Simón for Alcarràs last year.

8) C; 9) D; 10) A.

Your ranking:

0-2: Rainer Werner Fail

3-5: Fritz Lightweight

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6-8: Ernst Lubiiiiitch-that’s-not-half-bad

9+: Wim Wonderful

The 73rd Berlin International Film Festival will take place from 16-26 February.Stay tuned for our full coverage of the 2023 Berlinale during the festival, including reviews, gossip and everything you need to know about this year's edition.

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