Berlin film fest carpet to stay red

BERLIN • The carpet will remain red, with organisers of the Berlin International Film Festival on Wednesday declining a call to have movie stars walk a black one as a symbol of support for the campaign against sexual harassment.

After January's Golden Globes ceremony where people wore black, more than 21,000 people signed a petition calling for the same at this year's Berlinale.

But one day before the festival opened, its director Dieter Kosslick said he understood the reasons for the campaign but had decided against "symbolic politics" and wanted to instead focus on events discussing sexual harassment.

The festival had already announced a panel discussion on sexual abuse, a counselling corner and a seminar that will encourage women who have suffered misbehaviour to speak up and seek ways to boost equality in the industry.

About 400 films will be screened at the 68th Berlinale which opens with American director Wes Anderson's Isle Of Dogs, an animated tale of a boy searching for his pet at a garbage dump after a fictional city exiled all its dogs.

Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig, who voice characters in the film, are due to appear at the festival that some fans said is otherwise lacking in star power.

But there is no blackout of works with strong political agendas, with the slate including Khook (Pig), an Iranian film about a marginalised director, and U-July 22, about a 2011 massacre of young people on a Norwegian island.

The festival in the German capital runs until Feb 25.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2018, with the headline 'Berlin film fest carpet to stay red'. Print Edition | Subscribe