Since there is no such thing, as “I have seen pretty much everything when it comes to great films”, here is another edition of our Berlin movie guide (see part one and part two). Grab some popcorn and sit comfortably on your couch along with your friends or by yourself and enjoy some of our favorite picks. We guarantee you there is something for everybody. Should you have any suggestions of your own, please share them with us in the comment section below.
Die Fetten Jahre sind Vorbei
I remember this one fondly, as I watched it with my brother. You are coming back home after being away on holidays and you find everything in your apartment rearranged in the most bizarre way. Nothing is missing, it is just that everything looks different. What is more, you find a note saying “Your days of affluence are numbered”. How would you react? This the situation, which a group of friends brings residents of luxurious mansions into in their attempt to make a commentary on the “dictatorship of capitalism” we are currently living under. Most scenes have been shot in the beautiful neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg.
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Sommer vorm Balkon
There is no chance you will watch this bittersweet story without relating at least to one of the two main characters. Katrin and Nike, two friends living together in – my personal favourite – Prenzlauer Berg struggle with their own hardships, such as unemployment, raising kids, love, jealousy etc. Their life will change, when they meet Ronald, who almost runs over Katrin with his truck. It is a beautifully written story, that does not only highlight the sunny, irresistible summer in Berlin, but also showcases with humour people with strengths and weaknesses proving that perfection does not lie in the absense of flaws, but in the embrace of them instead.
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How far is a teenager willing to go to ward off the bullies and the unbearable violence he is being put through at his new school in Neukölln, where he moves with his mom after her breakup with her rich partner in Zehlendorf? Before it even stepped into the media spotlight as a serious problem in need of delicate and efficient solutions, bullying is depicted raw and painful on Detlev Buck’s film, just as it really is. The film reminded me the extent, to which a pure and innocent childhood can be distorted to a dark and cruel period of time.
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There is this time in your twenties, when you realize that you have absolutely zero idea about who you are and where you are heading in life. College dropout Niko Fischer goes through an existential crisis wandering around black-and-white Berlin. The film stands out for showing something all of us will face or have already dealt with in a way, that offers comfort and company to those who are currently going through it.
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Taxi zum Klo
Interested in filmmaking and an active sex life, Frank meets sweet and caring Bernd. During the movie one cannot help but wonder if it would be possible for the former to keep his personal life separated from his job as a teacher and if the relationship between the two men will handle Frank’s promiscuous life style. Taxi zum Klo is funny, realistic and according to some “a gay classic”.
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Frank is almost 30 and goes by the nickname “Herr Lehmann”. He chills, loves beer and works as a bartender. His life becomes complicated though, when his parents come to visit, the cute cook Katrin starts an affair with him and his best friend starts acting strange. On top of that, history is being written with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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When this film debuted in Germany one and a half years ago, there was not a single friend of mine that had seen it without talking enthusiastically about it. I had reached the point of playing the following drinking game: when I would go out and somebody would mention the movie, we would all have to take a sip from our drink. It can get pretty fun. Regarding the film, it reminded me Birdman, since they both stand out for their directors’ choice to film everything in a single shot with no editing. Victoria or as I prefer calling it “When you go out to party and everything goes terribly wrong” tells the story of a young Spaniard who meets a group of guys in a club, that will bring her life upside down in the most unexpected way.
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Menschen am Sonntag
Set in the interwar period, this film written by the highly acclaimed Billy Wilder is considered to be one of the most important pictures both of German and Hollywood cinema. It tells the story of a group of friends visiting Nikolassee on a summer day.
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15-year old Elfie despises her mother’s boyfriend, their tiny apartment and her entire life in general. In her attempt to collect money to ameliorate her situation, she meets a thief called Darius. It is astonishing to see how people used to move from East Germany to the West back then struggling to start their life from scratch without having anything. It is even more astonishing to think that it has not been that long since that time in history.
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The Blue Angel
When professor Immanuel Rath meets dazzling nightclub singer Lola Lola, his life, which used to be in perfect order, will spin out of control. The legendary Marlene Dietrich stars in this masterpiece by Josef von Sternberg confirming those who claim that there are much fewer iconic actors of such caliber nowadays.
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A Foreign Affair
What happens, when an army officer finds himself in a love triangle between a former-Nazi cafe singer and the American congresswoman who investigates her in post-World War II Berlin? Whereas it is funny, witty and charming overall, it highlights the difficulties of repairing the destructive and harmful effects of the war at the same time. I will be suprised, if you do not find this film in lists of movies you should have definitely watched in your lifetime.
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