With just Clinch (Schwitzkasten; John Cook, Austria 1977) to come (1930 tonight at Arsenal—the cinema, not the footy stadium), the festival score-card looks like this:
1. Films seen in their entirety from start to finish : 32
2. Films walked out of: 3 (Material after 115m; Mental after 90m; Ghosted after 20m)
3. Films walked out of and back into : 1 (Jadup and Boel—missed less than 5m near the end. Long story as to departure and re-entry.)
4. Total films "seen" in whole or part: 36 (average rating out of 10: 5.5)
5. Best new film: Green Waters (Aguas Verdes; Mariano de Rosa, Argentina 2009) 8/10
6. Runners-up: Home From Home (Germany) 8/10 ; then My Dear Enemy (South Korea); Deep in the Valley (Japan); Letters to the President (Canada/Iran), all 7/10.
7. Best film from any era: The Dancing Hawk (Tancazcy jastrzab; Grzegorz Krolikiewicz, Poland 1977) 9/10.
8. Next-best from the archives: Slow Summer (Austria) 8/10, then Little Valentino (Hungary); Stars of the Day (USSR) both 7/10.
9. Worst film: Enraged Sun, Enraged Sky (Rabioso Sol, Rabioso Cielo; Julian Hernandez, Mexico 2009) 1/10
10. New films which I didn't manage to see but am particularly keen to do so: In the Electric Mist from Competition; Ander and The Bone Man from Panorama; Encirclement from Forum; When It Was Blue from Forum Expanded; Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl from Berlinale special. (Most negatively buzzed: Absolute Evil and Human Zoo.)
11. Celebrities glimpsed: 2 (Henning Mankell [grouchy]; Joe Dallesandro [tiny])
12. Non-filmic highlight of the festival: (Der) Bruno S in Stadtklause, Bernburgerstrasse, Friday 6th February 2009. Public performance followed by impromptu "private" rendition of a "poem" (?), in German, about the Tower of Babel.
13. Non-filmic lowlight of the festival: getting into a childish argument about exit-doors with two cinema staff at the International after the screening of Enraged Sun, Enraged Sky, Friday 13th February. I'd wanted to ask some cutting questions of the director (and, if possible, the Panorama representative) at the Q&A but circumstances (director didn't speak English, too many people on stage) meant this wasn't feasible. In a classic case of what psychiatrists call "transference", I thus got into an argument with the first folk I happened to have any kind of friction with. Idiotic and immature stuff. Why do we live but so seldom learn?
14. Predicted winner of the Golden Bear: Everyone Else (Alle anderen) by Maren Ade (Germany).
15. Dark-horse danger: Mammoth by Lukas Moodysson (Denmark etc).
16. Most unlikely headline of the week: regarding The Pink Panther 2, in today's Berliner Zeitung : Dialektik des Serialismus (yes, they're kidding—a sub-headline refers to the film as "Grosse kinokunst" i.e. "Great cinematic art").
17. Best atmosphere at a screening: Home From Home at CineStar, Friday 13th: packed out, with patrons sitting three and four deep all the way up the stairs for this finely-calibrated crowdpleaser.
18. Worst atmosphere at a screening: Enraged Sun, Enraged Sky—see above. To program the film at all was bad enough, but to put it into the International, one of the world's great temples of cinema, was an insult.
19. Best pieces of fabric at the festival: not having glimpsed jury-president Tilda Swinton at any point, it would have to be the curtains at the International. Vast, two-tone shimmering things of milky-white stripes and spangles. If world cinema needs a flag, then these colossal drapes in this superb cinema will surely do the job.
20. Excerpts from a notebook (specifically 200 Blatt sheets feuilles vel kartek lap listu folhas, HerlitzPBS AG-Berlin):
Mental: "they get space to explain maladies"
The International "UN-building as citadel of sinisterness"
The Exploding Girl: "wonderment at cobbled-2gether little gadget"
Marin Blue: "horror-muzak!"
Burrowing: "Malickian feel in domestic surroundings, with kid-poetic v/o"
Ricky: "convincingly shitty nappy"
The Happiest Girl in the World: "thudding irony of title"
Araya: "siren-regulated bosses' paradise"
Slow Summer: "delicacy of touch / quite ruff-n-ready"
The Beast Stalker: "grey-eye awakes!!!"
Ghosted: "amateur hour"
Distance: "social + emotional fuckup—lowboiler"
My Dear Enemy: "Korea's gone from his attitude...to hers?"
Beeswax: "kitschy bric-a-brac + knickknax"
Stars of the Day: "hypno regressions to past lives"
Mr. Governor: "unflappable diplomatic charm, discretion, tact, self-effacement, reserve"
Deep in the Valley: "moan @ progress"
Kill Daddy Goodnight: "handy that he keeps the birthmark even after fleeing to USA!!"
Everyone Else: "bubbling to a kickoff"
Green Waters: "grinning satyr Roberto"
Material: "disgruntlement with party bosses"
Naked of Defenses: "lettuce-chop crackup"
Little Valentino: "laidback, unsmiling youth"
After Winter Comes Spring: "not so grim"
Soul Power: "all for benefit of Mobutu!"
Members of the Funeral: "slooow"
Letters to the President: "vox-populism"
The Dancing Hawk: "shot like 3-D!"
The Milk of Sorrow: "Dol.Claiborne"
Little Joe: "naked among t/vestites"
Sweetgrass: "terrain is overwhelmed"
Jadup and Boel: "softened spikes"
Short Cut to Hollywood: "like hero, goes to bits"
Enraged Sun, Enraged Sky: "enraged audience"
Home From Home: "tonguerolling cows?!"