Gina @Berlinale: Blood Color Urgently Needs A Change

Teyonah Parris in “Chi-Raq”.
© Parrish Lewis

It’s really funny and interesting: all the scenes where a lot of blood was involved in all of the movies I saw at this year’s Berlin Film Festival so far had the same problem: they were not authentic. Whereas other viewers had awkward feelings because of what was going on on screen, I either had to chuckle or laugh. Why? The color of the blood is much too bright! I really mean it: not that I have seen a lot of blood myself but if I do, it has never been as bright red as in the movies. And no, those movies weren’t science fiction or alien dramas (except for the poor “Midnight Special”).

The young mother who is cleaning up the sidewalk where her young daughter was slain in “Chi-Raq”, Spike Lee‘s latest hilarious movie, is trying to wash away some wall paint or something like that. But it just doesn’t look like blood. But otherwise, somebody has to stand up and say something against the ridiculous and much too mighty National Rifle Association in the US. 53 homicides in Chicago in January alone? Mister Lee is trying to solve this problem with his brilliant mixture of theater, musical, and ancient Greek drama.

Young student Brad is beat up by two other guys in Andrew Neel‘s “Goat” about the brutal situation in America’s fraternities. While he is crawling on the floor with blood shooting out from every loophole of his face, I was thinking about Heinz being the sponsor of the movie maybe? What the new students have to go through in order to be accepted, is called Hell Week. And it is something that is totally neglected in public, but at the same time totally normal and everybody seems to accept it. Until Brad and his brother try to decide to stop this strange tradition. Yes it is a brutal, but at the same time, sensitive movie.

Colin Firth and Jude Law in “Genius”.
Marc Brenner © Pinewood Films

In “Soy Nero”, the competition entry from Rafi Pitts about Mexican immigrants who try to become permanent US citizens by joining the US Army, there are several explosions and detonations to be seen. So really no need to show some blood, anyway. Michael Grandage manages to come up with the most valuable narrative in “Genius”, his competition movie about author Thomas Wolfe and his editor Max Perkins in late 20s/early 30s Depression era New York. The way they both fight over every word, every paragraph, page, and chapter is never gassy, always a pure joy to witness and it really makes you want to go out to the next bookstore (yes thank Heaven there is still such a thing as a bookstore) and buy his “Of Time And The River”. And the way Jude Law is portraying this restless poet, complete with a deep Southern accent (Wolfe was born in North Carolina), is just impeccable. As is Colin Firth as the editor. One of the highlights this year.

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