Forget 50 Shades of Grey here’s 7 Shades of Bärchen at the Berlinale

So yesterday was the premiere of “50 Shades of Grey.”

Do we care? Not much, but our Berlinale correspondent, Sabine Koch, happened to be there by coincidence.

Zoo Palast Berlinale

Zoo Palast Berlinale

I was at the Zoo Palast, one of Berlin’s oldest and most beautiful movie theatres, recently renovated and once again at the center of the Berlinale. I got tix for “Ned Rifle”, the new Hal Hartley movie. A funny, warm and charming little film, typical Hal Hartley, that I liked a lot, but the audience in general apparently not so much – applause was subdued.

Panorama director Wieland Speck and director Hal Hartley introducing the movie “Ned Rifle

Panorama director Wieland Speck and director Hal Hartley introducing the movie “Ned Rifle

When I left the Zoo Palast, I noticed that something big was about to happen. People holding up self-drawn signs looking for tickets, photographers lining up, and the mood was excited.

Berlinale bear

looking for tickets

Once I realized, that the world premiere of “50 Shades of Grey” was imminent, I thought to myself: I don’t really like these kinds of events, but since I am here, why not have a look at the proceedings?

So I found a nice spot to observe everything. At first there were lots of cars arriving and inevitably disappointment arose, because everyone getting out of those cars was a d-lister. No famous stars, ladies in high heels and silver-haired gentlemen with ill-fitting suits. This was certainly not the Oscar red carpet.

Jamie Dornan with wife Amelia Warner (in red) receiving the welcoming applause

Jamie Dornan with wife Amelia Warner (in red) receiving the welcoming applause

Finally, the cast arrived with Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, director Sam Taylor-Johnson and author E.L. James and of course there were shreeks, chants, flash bulbs, autographs – rather run-of-the-mill. Teenagers got excited but, to me it looked like a bonsai-version of a real event.

What made me stay until the end was someone special I noticed. A police officer was sporting a breast full of Berlinale pins. The tiny Bears (“Bärchen”) come in all colours and while almost all of the personnel had one pinned on, this particular man had seven.

So after all brouhaha settled down, I asked him if I could take his photo and in true, bone-dry Berliner fashion he replied: “Na, machen Se doch” (roughly translating into “ Well, go ahead then.”).

Berlinale Policeman with Seven Bears

Berlinale Policeman with Seven Bears

I am showing this, because I want to give a tribute to all the helpers: the police men and women, box office vendors, ushers, cleaning staff, orderlies, paramedics, bus drivers – these people make it work, they support our festival passionately and make the Berlinale what it is.

THANK YOU GUYS!

So in conclusion: 50 shades of grey? I prefer 7 shades of  Bärchen.

Read more from Sabine Koch and her insider’s tips at the Berlinale and Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert