The 73rd Berlin International Film Festival began on Thursday, at the Berlinale Palast theater and will run until February 26.

The event takes place during Russia’s war on Ukraine and the people of Iran’s imprisonment and execution by the government over human rights. This made much of the conversation at the festival about the intersection of politics and art.

In the opening ceremony, Berlin jury president Kristen Stewart discussed the inherent political quality of the first film, She Came to Me.


“There are a lot of oppressions against our physical selves. I’m a girl, but I’m probably the least marginal version of a woman I can be,” the actress said.

Golshifteh Farahani, another juror, remarked that many women are not as fortunate, noting the innocent women being unlawfully punished in Iran.

Sean Penn‘s documentary, Superpower, was also featured. It reflects on the resilience of the Ukrainian people during the ongoing war.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy introduced Penn via satellite and asked the audience to think about whether film and art can exist outside of politics.

At a press conference that afternoon, Stewart declared that films will live on forever, expressing the same theme of art as an act of resistance.

Speaking about her role as jury president, Stewart explained that she was slightly nervous about her position but felt ready to be part of the experience, which she described as an opportunity to learn from the films and people involved at the festival.

Stewart has recently finished directing her first feature-length film, The Chronology of Water. She’s also working on a paranormal reality series focusing on LGBTQ ghosthunters as an executive producer.

Read more about: