photo: Berlin Station / EPIX
No matter how hard to believe it might prove to be at first, Berlin has hosted the shooting of a variety of tv shows and films, from unknown indies to massive, Hollywood blockbusters, such as Inglorious Basterds and Hunger Games. It is very hard to describe the feeling of watching your beloved city on camera being the centre of a plot that has very little in common with the way you choose to spend your time in the German capital. Here are my favorite picks, when it comes to tv shows and films worthy of binge-watching, that have been shot to a great extent or even entirely in Berlin. Make sure you share with us your opinion/suggestions on the comment section below.
Homeland: Season 5
I could write pages after pages about Homeland. Its latest season marked the first season of an American tv show shot entirely in Berlin. The major reason, why I consider this show so special, is that it magically incorporates the current sociopolitical affairs into a mesmerizing and mind-boggling piece of art, which will urge you to contemplate on the world we are living in. All this along with the help of a well coordinated cast led by Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Rupert Friend. It feels surreal watching them march down Gendarmenmarkt or Kotti.
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With the mission to uncover a mole who has been leaking information to a world-class whistleblower, CIA officer Daniel Miller (played by Richard Armitage) is caught up in a cat-and-mouse-game in an action-packed TV show, that proves that we are living in the golden age of -American- television, where nothing that is happening on screen can be followed by commentary, such as “Oh yeah, I could see this one coming”. Showcasing iconic touristic sites, such as Brandenburger Tor, as well as less known ones including Teufelsberg, you would often catch yourself wondering if this tv show’s true purpose is to highlight the raw beauty of this city.
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Set in the not too distand past during the Cold War, a young guy from East Germany is sent to the West to work as a spy for the foreign intelligence service of Stasi, which was East Germany’s official state security service. Having been hailed by critics and audiences alike as well as been honored with the prestigious Peabody Award, Deutschland 83 has stood out apart from its thrilling plot for its use of 80’s notable music including songs by New Order, Eurythmics and David Bowie.
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The Lives of Others
Being the third film having won the Academy Award for best foreign film, the Lives of Others illustrate the story of a couple in East Berlin in 1984, while they are being monitored by a Stasi Agent. The film is definitely one of the most exceptional movies of the 21st century and is considered to be the first notable drama depicting this era.
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Bridge of Spies
Another drama set during the Cold War era, Bridge of Spies revolves around an American insurance lawyer faced with the task of defending a Soviet Spy and negotiating his exhange for two American pilots being held by the Soviets. If one turns a blind eye to the almost childish depiction of the Americans as the good, generous people and the Russians as the conniving, cold-hearted negotiators, it is a very interesting piece of art, that will leave you wondering, why you have not watched the entire filmography of Mark Rylance already, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of the Soviet captive.