Some time ago I heard Harmony Korine talking about how story and character were important to him while plot seemed inconsequential in comparison. I agree with this line of thought almost one hundred percent. Don't get me wrong. I can enjoy a well crafted plot as well as the next guy. Some of my favourite films are genre movies and plot is certainly a main part of the equation there. But the more I grow up, the more I can survive on story and character only. And that holds true from the two split yet inextricable personalities that coexist within me: The storyteller and the member of the audience. Meanwhile, I seriously doubt that I could survive on plot only. A plot only diet will for sure eventually kill me if only by boredom and that fatal feeling of nothingness. So, unlike Harmony, I don't reject plot entirely but it certainly holds a distant third position in that triumvirate of storytelling ingredients.
This thought takes me to this year edition of the Berlinale. More than half of what I have managed to watch were films where everything revolved around story and character. I am talking about Atlantida, Los Ángeles or Souvenir. If you have watched any of this movies you know what I am talking about. The thing is that I watch some of these films almost by chance. It is almost as if a superior force lured me there. Or perhaps it is just that I am drawn to them because of the kind of storyteller and the kind of spectator that, over the years, I have become.
Almost effortlessly my mind drifts from the Berlinale to the city that hosts it. The place that I call my home. And I realize something else: This city is also about story and character and plot is still (or again, depending how you look at it) far in the distance. You have to squeeze your eyes to get a glimpse of it. You have to study the faded marks on certain corners or dig around a particular set of ruins, that somehow have not yet been turned into something else, to read something that resembles an outline. Then you will hear echoes of past plots that have already come full circle while those cranes on the skyline are part of a plot that will unravel itself in the near future. Meanwhile, this city is full of compelling stories and unique characters. With those two ingredients you can build yourself a home far more cozy than any plot could dream for itself in two entire lifetimes.