Rainy midnight at the lost and found - a.k.a. a 6th floor room of the Etap hotel, just along the amazing ruin that was the Anhalter Bahnhof, about 5-8 minutes' walk from the Berlinale H.Q. at Potsdamer Platz. My preferred route is the "back way" via Bernburger Strasse, an unremarkable-looking street which, the more you walk it, yields ever more remarkable facets (more of which anon).
Not least of these is the Stadtklause, an unremarkable-looking pub where, some evenings, a certain 'Bruno S' can be found playing his accordion and singing old Berlin songs. If you've seen Werner Herzog's Stroszek, you will know whom and what I am talking about. Bruno S was the star of that movie, and also of Herzog's Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, and for my money he's at least as important Herzog-collaborator as the rather better-known (and much-lamented) Klaus Kinski.
Mr S, however, is very much alive and kicking. Read all about it here.
Anyway, I was in the Stadtklause last night (Thursday), and "Der Bruno" (as he refers to himself throughout the semi-biographical Stroszek) wasn't in attendance. Tonight he was, and he performed maybe four numbers while I was there, drinking kleines beers and eating the sausage and bread platter (me, not Der Bruno).
On his way out, I thanked him for his efforts and apologised for by substandard German. Upon which he treated me to a kind of solo private "spoken word" performance, in Deutsch, which I reckon was to do with the construction of the Tower of Babel.
I may well experience some kind of celluloid epiphany over the next week or so here (my hopes are high for the two John Cook movies from the 1970s, plus the 'After Winter Comes Spring' pictures, made in Eastern Bloc countries during the 1980s) but I'd say its odds on that nothing will prove as magical or memorable than my couple of minutes one-on-one with Der Bruno.
Speaking of odds, and getting back to the movies (today I endured the dire Marin Blue, then quite enjoyed the worth-seeing-but-not-writing-home-about trio of Burrowing, Ricky and The Happiest Girl in the World), here's my first rough reckoning for the 2009 Golden Bear. I drew it up at the Stadtklause in between Bruno S songs, when I needed something to pass the time. Expect a couple of revisions as more of the movies premiere here over the next week.
Not that I'll sully my judgement by catching them all - indeed, I know for sure that I will not be making any effort to watch the movie which I have installed the clear favourite, as after stumbling out of Lilja 4-Ever I took a blood oath never to waste my time on another work of any kind by L---s M-------n.
3/1 Moodysson : Mammoth
13/2 Bouchareb : London River
9/1 Farhadi : About Elly
10/1 Potter : Rage
11/1 Frears : Cheri
12/1 Ade : Everyone Else
14/1 Tavernier : In the Electric Mist
16/1 Wajda : Sweet Rush
16/1 Chen : Forever Enthralled
16/1 Moverman : The Messenger
18/1 Schmid : Storm
20/1 Llosa : The Milk of Sorrow
20/1 Ozon : Ricky
20/1 Olesen : The Little Soldier
25/1 Strickland : Katalin Varga
28/1 Biniez : Gigante
40/1 Liechtenstein : Happy Tears
66/1 Loncraine : My One and Only