BERLIN 2000 DIARY: American Indie Gems, Naked Pics and Chinese Opera

by Mark Rabinowitz

In the months leading up to the Berlinale, there was a considerable amount of grumbling on the part of the regular attendees about the fact that the festival was moving to Potsdamer Platz. Well, as the festival wound down last week, much of that grumbling had shifted a bit, with comments ranging from guarded optimism to muted praise to enthusiastic raves, with most of the attendees willing to wait and see how next year's festival settles into the completed area.

Many of the new screening venues were praised for projection and sound quality, with several filmmakers telling me that they noticed sounds in their films that they hadn't heard since the sound mix. However, the physical design of some of the theaters leaves a little to be desired. The larger of the CinemaxX theaters (I didn't see the medium ones) have a rake so steep that if the person in the row in front of you leans the slightest bit forward or is tall, their head is in the frame and obscures the subtitles.

As far as the other features of the new venues go, the CinemaxX and CineStar complexes are shrines to movie going. Rife with snack bars, coffee bars and just plain bars, these modern movie houses offer much for the patron to experience before or after the film. Besides the splits of cava, the snack bars offer the full range of candy and popcorn, as well as soda, beer and juice. In addition, the CineStar has a coffee bar and a liquor bar, while the CinemaxX has a ground floor full service caf