Damsel at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival

16 February 2018 Premiere

Robert Pattinson made an appearance at the Berlin International Film Festival to promote his new film Damsel. The movie is in competition this year and tells the story of Samuel Alabaster, a gauche young man who goes on a mission to marry and rescue his beloved Penelope (Mia Wasikowska), for whom he bought the cutest miniature pony (Butterscotch) as a wedding gift. This will be Robert’s fourth visit to the Berlinale Film Festival. Having previously attended in 2012 for Bel Ami, and making a return visit in 2015 for Anton Corbijn’s James Dean’s biographical drama, Life; and of course, in 2017 for the premiere of James Gray’s the Lost City of Z. Damsel had its world premiere last month at the Sundance Film Festival.

During the press conference, Robert touched on the impact of the #MeToo movement, being inspired by Warren Beatty, and realities of true love. When asked about the #MeToo movement, Robert said, “If you feel that you’ve been wronged, and you feel that you don’t have the right to tell people about it and you feel that you’re being bullied into silence, it’s one of the most awful things in the world. It’s amazing when any kind of dam breaks and people feel they’ve got the numbers to say, no, you’ll be safe to say whatever has happened to you. It’s pretty amazing.”

When asked about his views on the matter of “true pure love”, as expressed by his character in the film, Robert went on to say, “It’s obviously more complicated. I think Samuel, the main character, is a bit of a fantasist. He likes believing in a poetic version of reality. I think life and love is a little more complicated than he perceives it.”

Robert also revealed that Warren Beatty’s performance in McCabe & Mrs. Miller was an inspiration in the way that he chose to portray the character. Going on to say, “I don’t even know how you describe Warren Beatty’s character in that. There was just a kind of jauntiness to him that I liked. I always like parts where all of their actions, you should really be judging them as if they’re doing something wrong but you have to play it kind of opposite, so as an audience member you sort of become complicit.”

From the critic’s mixed reviews and varied opinions, Damsel doesn’t appear to be the type of film that’s going to earn universal praise, but I’m heartened by the fact that Robert’s performance is almost always singled out and praised.

The Entire World of Film

The public programme of the Berlin International Film Festival shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres. Films of every genre, length and format find their place in the various sections: great international cinema in the Competition, independent and art house in Panorama, films for young audiences in Generation, new discoveries and promising talents from the German film scene in Perspektive Deutsches Kino, avant garde, experimental and unfamiliar cinematography in the Forum and Forum Expanded, and an exploration of cinematic possibilities in Berlinale Shorts. The Berlinale Special, including Berlinale Special Gala, is showing new and extraordinary productions and honours great cinema personalities. Berlinale Series, which began in 2015, presents selected international series. The programme is rounded out by a Retrospective as well as an Homage, which focuses on the œuvre of a great personality of cinema, curated by the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen. Beginning in 2013, the Retrospective expanded to include presentations of Berlinale Classics. They show current restorations of film classics as well as rediscovered films.

Furthermore, the Berlinale has regularly organised a programme of special presentations that open up new perspectives, provide insight into key themes, make new connections and explore realms where film intersects with other creative disciplines. Food, pleasure and the environment – these are the topics that lie at the centre of the Culinary Cinema. Berlinale Goes Kiez is travelling from arthouse cinema to arthouse cinema within the city to present selected films from the Berlinale programme and NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema is devoted to the cinematic story-telling of Indigenous peoples worldwide.