In Conversation with Kristen Stewart | President of 73rd Berlin International Film Festival


In Conversation with Kristen Stewart | President of 73rd Berlin International Film Festival

I chose the look for opening night based on feel. I feel light in it. And present.

You’ve been a member of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, but this is the first time you’re the President of a Festival, and one of the most prestigious ones. What were your first thoughts when they called you and what made you accept?

Talking about film without having the added pressure of “promoting” a film is a rare indulgence on this scale. The conversations you have with collaborators while making a movie are quite different from the ones you have as a non-complicit audience member. Meeting people from different corners of the Earth that have come together to explore the reasons why certain films incite or raise new questions. This is heaven to me. A condensed intensive shared experience… one that should change your mind… change your view… I can’t wait to be a different human at the end of these two weeks, these 19 films, the innumerable conversations. And to have gleaned new insight and new perspectives from fellow artists that I have immense respect for.

How do you see this new role and envision the whole experience? What kind of president do you wish to be? A chief conductor or more of a collegiate jury member?

The president’s job is to mediate and to learn. To mitigate bias. But when you’re dealing with an ephemeral subject such as we are, art being subjective as it obviously is… I think the main role I have taken on here is to make sure everyone feels heard. Seen. I have been on one jury in the past (at the 71st Cannes Film Festival in 2018) Cate Blanchett, who was the President of the Jury, set a prime example. You could hate a movie and deem it a foot of extraordinary accomplishment. You could love something that feels impotent in regard to its larger effect on the world. Our job is to enjoy each other’s vastly different experiences in this life and see how they bounce off the works of art presented to us as a whole.

As you’ll soon embark on a new adventure as a movie director with your directorial debut “The Chronology of Water”, do you think you’ll get anything out of this experience?

I have been preparing for my role as a film maker since I can remember. The privilege to externalize your inner life, to show people something as you see it so you can hold each other that much closer is what I have surrendered to. It’s what I’ll fight for. It’s an unstoppable inclination. So whoever I am at the end of it is for others to assess. Based on whatever spits itself out of the body and onto the screen. Good or bad I do believe it will reflect the truth of a moment in my life.

As a CHANEL ambassador for so many years, how is it to be accompanied by a fashion House for such an event?

Chanel has my back. I have theirs. I could call it armor, second skin… It’s an evolving story. We have roots and a lot of room to grow together so I am nothing but delighted to keep exploring and playing with such incredible artists. Virginie is a treasured collaborator and inspiration.

How did you choose your look for the opening ceremony? What do you like about this dress that comes from the latest Spring-Summer 2023 Haute Couture collection?

I chose the look for opening night based on feel. I feel light in it. And present. I think it has the perfect amount of structure and activation. The deer on the dress symbolizes freedom and tranquility to me. Self-possession.

How do you see the relationship between CHANEL & Cinema keeping evolving? And yours with Virginie Viard?

Virginie is a lover of art and of humanity. It’s so clear in the work she produces. It is cinematic. Our art hold hands. I hope those concentric circles continue to overlap… eclipse.

Can you tell us about your upcoming projects for this year?

‘Love Lies Bleeding’ is Rose Glass’s second film, a follow up to her first which was one of my favorites of the year it came out. She has a knack for highlighting darkness and reminding us it’s in all of us. She also has style and an eye for the strange. Her films are atmospheric, sexual, toothy. ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ should make us scared of ourselves and celebrate a marginal, not too often broadcast sweetness that is authentically queer and special and far from overtly conscious of itself. ‘Love Me’ is a movie about all of us. The ironic one-ness of individuality. Steven Yeun and I play the traces of us all, left behind by the infinitely expansive reflection of the internet… trying to love itself. Trying to love each other. I haven’t seen it but the way the directors Sam and Andy will present these ideas, visually should be revolutionary. Their ideas are prescient and well within reach of us all. It’s startlingly base. It’s both optimistic and gravely realistic. They are visionaries. Can’t wait to be let in on what it will look like.

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