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Berlinale Retrospective Curator David Thomson ‘Film Is Built Upon Its Own History’

Renowned film critic David Thomson was faced with the daunting task of curating the Berlin Film Festival’s 60th anniversary Retrospective section. He tells SPIEGEL ONLINE how he made the almost impossible selection, why watching movies on the big screen is so important and reveals why he had never visited Berlin before.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The Berlin International Film Festival is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2010. You were given the task of curating this year’s Retrospective section, which is intended to highlight the most notable films from the festival’s history. But how do you go about choosing almost 40 films from 60 years of the Berlinale?

David Thomson: It seems impossible and absurd to pick 35 or 40 films out of so many. But then you say to yourself: Well, let’s make it fun. I wanted to show what a lively, active festival this had been over a long period. And I wanted to use the span of this festival to show some tendencies in film history, the changes there have been. The emergence of Japanese film, Chinese film, the French New Wave — you have a lot of the big things that happened. Continue reading

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