Chemnitz. The longtime Berlinale boss will be heading to Chemnitz movie nights on Sunday and reading an excerpt from his book “Always Staying on the Carpet: About Magic Moments and the Future of Cinema” at Theaterplatz. We spoke to the famous movie buff who knows all the big Hollywood stars.

Chemnitz. The longtime Berlinale boss will be heading to Chemnitz movie nights on Sunday and reading an excerpt from his book “Always Staying on the Carpet: About Magic Moments and the Future of Cinema” at Theaterplatz. We spoke to the famous movie buff who knows all the big Hollywood stars.

: Mr. Kosslick, part of your roots are in Saxony, so you probably also know Chemnitz.

Dieter Kosslick: I’ve never been to Chemnitz, which is a real shame. Because my father was from Dresden, he passed away shortly after I was born, but I was in Dresden with my mother regularly and visited uncles and aunts. We have been to the Ore Mountains and Pirna very often. Because my uncle had a Trabi and it was amazing how many people could fit in the little car.

What are the last films that you saw in the cinema?

I watched “Nomadland” and the wonderful movie “Grand Budapest Hotel”, which has not aged a bit. I watched the film “Rausch” twice because I was the guest of honor at the Bensheim European Film Festival in Hesse and the film was screened there. Now I know director Thomas Vinterberg well privately because we showed his films at the Berlinale and I met him there often. That’s why I wanted to get an idea of ​​”Der Rausch”. And then I saw him again in Bensheim. The film really impressed me and I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol for four days. I think the two films “Nomadland” and “Der Rausch” are probably the most important films that will shape the year of cinema. Both are not really funny. They have a sense of humor, but it’s also serious, good cinema.

How did you manage to enjoy the cinema again after a long time?

Just as you sit down in an armchair, the light goes out and the curtains disappear, you only realize how much you’ve missed the cinema, even though I’ve known that moment a thousand times.

After you pulled out of the Berlinale, you announced that you wanted to teach your son how to hang out. But you don’t seem to have succeeded. You wrote a book.

(laughs) Retirees always say they never have time because they are so busy. And I never understood that. I would have liked to let myself “hang around” a bit. Because saying goodbye after 18 years at the Berlinale wasn’t that easy for me. But I was under pressure with the book because it should have been finished a long time ago. Under the impression of the pandemic, I rewrote it in part, in particular the part which deals with the future of cinema. And then the book was published and I’m now on a reading tour. So far I haven’t had time to go out at all. But I really enjoyed doing something completely different and thinking about cinema. As I wrote, I became optimistic that cinema has a future, albeit different from today. I can only quote the phrase from Visconti’s great film “The Leopard”: “A lot of things have to change to keep it that way”.

The demands for more diversity and sustainability do not stop at the cinema, how do you judge this upheaval?

Cinema will have a future if it is diverse, if it shows different societies, people and philosophies. This has always been very important to me for the Berlinale too. We printed posters with the slogan “Accept diversity” in 2002. It is absolutely necessary. There cannot be just one mainstream cinema, but films like “Nomadland” and “Der Rausch” must be shown. Cinema will also have to do a lot in terms of gender equality and people of color. But I have a feeling that a lot has happened in the past two years. You saw it in particular during the last Oscars. The fact that a film like “Nomadland” won is a huge step forward. Sustainability in the construction of cinemas and in the production of films will also gain in importance. Directors like James Cameron are already producing CO2 neutral. And that’s not just any director with “Avatar” and “Titanic”. It must happen to us too, and quickly.

The corona pandemic has hit the cultural scene and, in particular, the cinema very hard. From your perspective, did everything go well – even afterwards?

I don’t want to pretend to be making a final judgment. But my impression was that a lot of things were done that contributed to the fact that not much was broken. After a while there were support programs. And the industry is holding back with lawsuits. But of course, the pandemic was a huge turning point. Many people have been placed on short-time work. But there is also a really positive side to this crisis: after a long time many people have realized how much culture is lacking when it is no longer there. And I’m not just talking about cinema and cinema. It has become very clear that food and the means of survival are necessary to survive. And culture is a means of survival.

In the pandemic, streaming services have replaced cinema, are now very strong and partly dictate the market. A questionable development?

The worst is over. I feel like we’re slowly getting back to normal and streaming services are losing their horror. This parallelism between cinema and streaming services will also exist in the future. Over the past 135 years, the demise of cinema has been predicted over and over again. The sound film was presented to the great protest of the cinematographic scene. Television actually pushed cinema back a long way before it bloomed again. And think of new cinematographic media like DVD, considered dangerous for the cinema. The current development has certainly been helped by the pandemic, but we can also see how many people have missed the cinema and its sense of community.

In your book, you take a special look at the moviegoers of tomorrow.

From my point of view, it is essential to take care of children and young people. And in principle, in an agreement between the cinema and the school, they should be obliged to go to the cinema once a week. They have to experience the big room and the big screen or else we’ll lose them to the small screens of their smartphones and smartwatches. We need a socializing effect when it comes to cinema. Children, who are supposed to be the audience of the future, will otherwise not be able to develop the feeling of the big screen and the magic of cinema, which is created by watching a big screen in a large room with many other people. If we are not careful, cinema will not die from Netflix, but from the consequences of the use of media by the younger generation.

Tell us about your worst and best Berlinale experience, which you have had in your long career.

Oh, I’ve had a lot of disasters, as you can imagine with such a mega-organization. But I mostly remember “On the way to Cold Mountain”. It was slated to be the opening film of the Berlinale in 2004 and the three announced movie stars canceled their participation hours before the start of the Berlinale. I stood there alone on the red carpet. These were the saddest minutes of my professional life.

And your best experience?

This also took place on the red carpet. It was great that we were able to bring the Rolling Stones and Martin Scorsese, who together shot the movie “Shine A Light”, to Berlin in 2008. There were thousands of people on Potsdamer Platz.

How do you see German films at the moment?

I don’t see any reason to complain. There are always great German films and at the moment they are also on the screen.

Have you never wanted to make a film yourself?

No. Maybe I would have made a good producer. There are many parallels between running a festival and making a film. I did the cinema jobs that I could and that I did with passion. I’ve loved working in the triangle of red carpet, creativity, and film politics, and that’s where I’ve always felt most comfortable.

One last question for the insider they are. Will “James Bond” finally arrive in theaters on September 30?

(laughs) I actually know producer Barbara Broccoli well. I had visited him once in London and asked him if the next “James Bond” would not be a woman. Then she assessed me with a look that made it clear to me that I would never ask her anything about “James Bond” again. That’s why I can’t shine with insider knowledge. But I am convinced that the film will arrive at the cinema.