The coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the film industry the 71st Berlin Festival, which began on March 1 followed the example of Rotterdam and Sundance, and also takes place in a virtual as well as a slightly abbreviated format. It is difficult to consider such a film screening, limited by a laptop screen and only five days to be full-fledged but to some extent, these circumstances are compensated by the program which already at the start of the festival presented at least one genuine masterpiece. Talks about this film and a couple of other notable premieres of the first day of the Berlinale.
The main event of the first day of the Berlinale was, of course, the premiere in the main competition of a new work by the Korean Hong Sang-so, last year. The Woman Who Escaped won the prize for best director at the same festival. Well, Hon did not disappoint Entry fits into 65 minutes of timekeeping as if a whole youth, full of dramas, experiences, and reversals of fate. Moreover, only three scenes are enough for him. Here is a student Yeon-ho (Shin Seok-ho) asks his girlfriend Joo-won (Park Mi-SEO) to wait for him in a coffee shop a long-gone acupuncturist father called him to his office for a meeting. However, you have to wait for yourself the parent will not be distracted from the patients in any way, which is not surprising, given that one of them is a famous theater actor (Ki Joo-bone). Editing gluing and now Joo-won herself, who moved to Berlin to apply for a fashion designer, Kim Min-hee ) agreed to shelter the future student until she finds a place to live. Talk about the future and beauty of the hostess is interrupted by a message. It was Yeon-ho, unable to withstand even the day of separation, who came to Berlin and asks for a meeting.
The third episode of Intro apparently is also separated by years from the previous two – and, in full accordance with Hong’s reputation as a director, in whose films the Korean intelligentsia invariably floods the talk of life with alcohol, unfolds at a table breaking from bottles of soju. Yeon-ho, who arrived at a restaurant on the seashore to talk about his future with a colleague at the request of his mother, quickly gets drunk. Did Joo-won stay in Berlin? Is it her figurine visible in the distance on the beach – or is it the soju couples that hit it in the head? Vodka is vodka, but Hong San-su in Entry again shows himself as a director, whose screen poetry is formed not so much by drunken free verse as by the finest work with the matter of time.
His main, most effective tool in this film turns out to be precisely those breaks, which is shared by the three chapters of the Introduction break in which, if not life entirely, then at least youth, the vicissitudes, and dramas of which the Korean master invites the viewer to fill in, turning the viewing of a poorly eventful, crafty film into an intense, hypnotizing psychodetective story. The entry of the heroes into adulthood in this way also turns into an entry into the on-screen world of Hon, working according to such amazing laws that it is not a sin to be lost in it.
The main character of another film of the main competition of the Berlinale. I am your man by the German woman Maria Schrader also loses herself in unusual circumstances. Dealing with metaphors in the cuneiform of the ancient Sumerians, the forty-year-old scientist Alma (Maren Eggert), for the sake of the preferences of his superiors, takes part in an unusual experiment. For three weeks, she will have to live with a robot, whose artificial intelligence and external data are calibrated to become an ideal partner for her, and then give her scientific opinion. Well, a humanoid named Tom Dan Stevens) is handsome, witty, caring, and efficient at everything, including cleaning, sex, and even analyzing Sumerian cuneiform. But Alma just can’t get rid of the question of what she is still dealing with – with an independent, developing and so similar to a living being, or with the projection of her own fantasies, sewn into the operating system. It would have been easier to figure it out if only Tom had not so strongly reminded Alma of her very first, still childhood love.
To the eternal question of whether androids dream of electric sheep (well, or in this case, culturologists of Balzac’s age), Maria Schrader gives a rather witty answer. Tom, of course, can snore, but only to create the illusion of human robots are not allowed to sleep and dream. The same ironic approach in its pragmatism distinguishes. I am your man almost until the very end: Schrader diligently inscribes the android into the everyday life of his heroine and squeezes out either humor or drama from his imperturbable presence in those situations that any normal person experiences with anguish (like trips to his father suffering from dementia). No serious revelations in their studies of the paradoxes of robotics (as well as in the field of cinema), however, “I am your man” does not mean, preferring to reduce the plot to a question, Is the artificial nature of a robotic roommate so much different from the shortcomings of living people whom we choose as lovers? Schrader has no answer, but, on the other hand, can such an answer, in principle, be unambiguous in a world whose inhabitants cannot imagine themselves without much less perfect fruits of progress?
Technocapitalism, ruthlessly grinding the planet, haunts Harvard graduate, former mathematics professor Ted Kaczynski ( Sharlto Copley), the protagonist of American Tony Stone’s drama Ted K. It was from the progress that he fled in the early 1970s into the wilderness of Montana to settle in a tiny hut and live in peace and unity with nature. But all is unsuccessful: airliners and helicopters are deafeningly buzzing overhead, neighbors on snowmobiles are constantly disturbing sleep, and the centuries-old forests around are inexorably retreating under the onslaught of miners and lumberjacks. Ted goes on the path of the war with the modern world – and begins to mail bombs of his own manufacture to aircraft tycoons and industrialists. He carefully thinks over every detail (for example, before each terrorist attack he leaves for another state so that not only mailing but also the purchase of elements for IEDs could not be connected with him) – so the FBI will hunt him for 17 years.
During this time, three people will die at the hands of Kachinsky, 23 more will be injured.
Kaczynski will go down in history under the nickname Unabomber and over the twenty-odd years that have passed since his arrest, he will have time largely thanks to the publications of his quasi-philosophical treatises and manifestos, to become a cult figure for modern anarchiseco-fascistsists, and neo-Luddites. Tony Stone’s film, however, does not attempt to create a full-fledged biographical portrait of the hero and does not undertake either to show the breakdown that forced Kaczynski to give up a successful academic career or to assess his impact on culture.
No, Ted K rather creates a modern film analog of Walden Thoreau with the amendment that in modern conditions escape from civilization is not only impossible but also extremely destructive for the psyche. It is the insanity of the Unabomber that gives Stone the material for the most spectacular scenes of Ted colorful not without the mocking irony voiced by Vivaldi and Handel of fantasies about explosions revenge, and the soil leaving from under our feet. And also about women’s attention Stone exploits the virginity of Kachinsky so persistently as if he wants to say that if one looks for a prototype of some modern movement in the figure of a terrorist, then this movement will not be anarchists at all, but incels. What achievements so is the relevance.