Signs and Portents

In my favorite science fiction series, Babylon 5, the episode Signs and Portents is followed by one called TKO and in a way it very much feels like what happened at this year’s Berlinale. For reasons nobody can fathom, they decided to give half of their awards to some oddball Iranian movie as if to make a political statement. Now certainly there is something going on in the Arabian world and if only a tiny part of that drips on to Iran and helps make things better, I’m all for it, but I dare say that the last thing they need is such cheap acts drenched with cheap symbolism. It helps no one as no doubt the people it is meant for now won’t even less be able to actually watch the movie due to censorship and neither will many others, I’m afraid, as besides a few small arthouse cinemas and later some similar DVD edition for the intellectually inclined there will not be much opportunity to do so. Aside from that it’s simply bad for movie festivals as such – it becomes pointless running them in the first place, if questionable political motivations can override any common sense…

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