Berlin (dpa) – .

After the opening of the Berlinale, the real business of the festival begins. In view of the number of corona virus infections, special conditions apply this time to the Berlin Film Festival.

Among others, the Austrian director Ulrich Seidl will present his new film in competition. “Rimini” tells the story of a pop singer. Seidl is known, among other things, for his “Paradise” trilogy.

Also featured are “Robe of Gems” about Mexico’s drug war and “Die Linie” by Ursula Meier, according to the announcement a mother-daughter story. Certain rules apply for going to the cinema due to the high number of infections. For example, only those who have already been vaccinated or who have recovered have access to it. Anyone who has not yet received a booster shot also needs a test. You also have to wear a mask in the cinema.

Hundreds of guests at the opening

The film festival opened on Thursday evening. Hundreds of guests gathered on Potsdamer Platz to see the film “Peter von Kant” by French director François Ozon. Among them were the actresses Iris Berben, Heike Makatsch and Maria Furtwängler.

Ozon’s film is based on a model by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982). When the performance ended on Thursday night, there was plenty of applause and cheers for the cast and crew. Hanna Schygulla received stage applause when she first appeared on screen – she already starred in Fassbinder’s original (“The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant”, 1972) and now also in the new version. But she didn’t come for the Berlinale – because of the pandemic, as she told the “Berliner Zeitung”.

“Yes, it’s a festival under pandemic conditions,” said Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens). “With limits that you can criticize. With flaws that can be blamed. With shortcomings to be regretted,” Roth said. “But what’s really, really important is that the Berlinale takes place.” Given the infection situation, there had been a long struggle over how to organize the Berlinale.

At the start of the opening night, actress Meret Becker stood in front of the audience – and welcomed the “beautiful people” in Berlin and on the screens. She called for appreciating the uniqueness and diversity of people, their perspectives, visions, needs and learning from each other. They are there to celebrate this richness. “Fuck the money, man.”

One of the biggest film festivals in the world

Actress Sibel Kekilli (“Against the Wall”) said the films had an incredible impact. “Why else could a simple film, a story, an artist frighten certain people, powers, cultures and politicians to such an extent that the film would be banned, the artist persecuted or even killed?”

Along with Cannes and Venice, the Berlinale is one of the biggest film festivals in the world. The film creates invaluable insights into the past, present and future, Roth said. It is also a sign of democracy. The Berlinale saw it as a sign of hope.

“We won’t let Corona bring us down. We need the cinema. We need the film,” Roth said and received plenty of applause for that. She said she also wanted to welcome special honored guests : nurses, doctors. These are representative of so many people who have done everything they could to save lives over the past difficult years. “Thank you very much!” (dpa)