“For me, Berlin isn’t a city, but a rhythm.” That is Sonja’s opinion on our beloved town. She is the protagonist of the new Berlin movie Fucking Berlin. Like so many others, she came here to forget the boredom from her hometown and experience something faster, more intense. She couldn’t foresee, how easy it is to loose yourself in this fast life. Suddenly the money for parties and drugs has run out and she finds herself naked in front of her laptop, working as a camgirl. Being a student and an emancipated sexworker becomes too much for her, soon.
How fast Berlin catches you is something that we all know. How quickly you run out of money and job options is also no secret, which is why often decisions are being made that would’ve sounded crazy just a short while ago. Without being moralizing, the movie shows just how easy you can experience every part of Berlin’s intensity.
photos: Raving Iran / Susanne Regina Meures
A bass, darkness, strobing light. Waving arms, dancing people, glimpses of the night, a techno beat. We are not in Berghain or any other dark place in Berlin. We are in the Iranian desert with Anoosh and Arash. The two friends and musicians are having a – not only illegal – but highly dangerous party with some friends in the outback of the desert. If they get caught, they will go to jail at least. Just one of the many inconveniences they have to endure to be young and a little bit free in Iran. The documentary Raving Iran by Susanne Regina Meures is telling a little piece of their story. It just premiered in Berlin at Volksbühne. Find out more and see the trailer after the jump.
photo: Hara Katsiki
As mundane as it may sound, Berlin is the very definition of a melting pot. It has always reminded me of an immense theater stage, where all countries take their position and as soon as the lights start to dim, they begin interacting with each other; they fight, they love, they live, but most of all they constantly try to make their stories get heard as loud as possible. There is one thing they have always in common: they are fully in sync with their multicultural environment and in the case of Greece miles away from the picture drawn by Nia Vardalos’ Big Fat – filled with stereotypes, yet utterly entertaining – Greek Wedding.
Several Greek places around the world – cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, concerts etc. – have always made me feel like Alice in Wonderland, but to a more twisted and disturbing extent than Lewis Carroll’s bizarre universe. It is mostly the image of people being lost in their Greek microcosm, fully ignorant of the overwhelming benefits life abroad has to offer, that brings discontent to me. And it is then, when you realize that for some coming from the same place has developed into the one and only criterion of socializing with people.
However, this story is about those who have become citizens of the world and their Greek identity represents a part of it and not vice versa. Here a few examples of Greek businesses and artists active in Berlin who choose to work and live through the aforementioned identity.
One of the things I really appreciate about Berlin is that ordinary things often come wrapped in special ways to make it more intriguing. We are really quite privileged when it comes to entertainment and culture. Take for instance going to the movies. Of course we have the traditional multiplex and small program cinemas. But then there are also luxury theaters with VIP treatment, glamorous vintage cinemas reminiscent of the old days, shabby underground locations with art flicks, mobile kinos projected on fire walls, open air screenings with whirlpools and so many other unusual ways to experience movies.
The upcoming Audi Urban Cinema is yet another event that will nurture our high standards in light entertainment. The popular series is already in its fourth year and will once again raise the bar for cinematic experiences. Last year the event took place inside the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei which was already pretty great as a backdrop for the movies. But this year they’ve stepped up moving over to the riverbanks of the Spree setting up their screen at the Arena.
How can an artist be totally underground (whatever this means) and internationally famous at the same time? What might seem like a contradiction in Los Angeles, London, New York and Paris, is totally possible in Berlin. It is not unusual to meet pop star Peaches eating a snack at Kotti or stumble upon the world’s most famous doorman Sven Marquardt in a small gallery at an opening of an exhibition. So far, all these underground stars have been working in different fields. Of course, some of them have collaborated already, but the project I am about to present to you is more than that.
Initiated by the Audi Zeitgeist Project, dedicated to support experimental art and creative disciplines of all genres, an alliance of exceptional artists from Berlin has come together for a creative masterpiece called Black Mountain. In this experimental short film the artist collective Like a wild beast’s fur, composer Moritz von Oswald and Artistic Director Jan Engel reinterpreted Richard Wagners Opera Parsifal. On the 3rd of July the whole short film was released online on Audi-City starring famous Volskbühne actors like Alexander Scheer, Volker Spengler and Jasna Fritzi Bauer and famous performers like VER.u.s.c.h.k.a., Peaches, Sven Marquardt and many more.
This contemporary take on the opera is revitalizing the traditional piece, setting it inside a dark Berlin techno club. Apart from the movie there was an immersive exhibition open to the public at Gallery Ebensperger. There you could walk through the installation of Hauke Odendahl, which offered a deep immersive experience into the concept of the art piece. During the shooting of the film, one of our favorite Berlin photographers, Florian Kolmer, took individual portraits of the actors and performers.
Check out the full short film and some pictures of the exhibition after the jump.
Most cinema lovers observe what is happening at the Cannes, Venice and Sundance Film Festivals, even if they cannot attend. The programs always look promising and leave us with excitement and hope that the films will one day make it to our local cinemas. Unfortunately, quite a few movies never receive distribution deals, leaving a wider audience unable to see it. Luckily there are lovers of film like Hannes Brühwiler, who help films they believe in reach the silver screen in Berlin!
Hannes’s Festival is poetically called Unknown Pleasures and screens an amazing selection of American independent movies. The festival runs from June 3rd until June 16th 2016 at Arsenal and Il Kino. I met Hannes and spoke with him about American cinema, Unknown Pleasures and the best places for great film in Berlin…
It’s hard to think of a film that has tapped so well into the Berlin party scene. Last year’s Victoria opened on a club night, but quickly took us elsewhere. Certain soundtracks have used adrenaline-fueled techno to help tell their film’s stories – Run Lola Run comes to mind. And certainly there have been films about partying specifically, like 24-Hour Party People or Berlin Calling. But Der Nachtmahr might be the best film ever to weave the pounding, textural sounds that define Berlin into an immersive, exciting story. And it’s amazing!
We open on a warning: “The strobe effects in this movie may cause seizures”. Also: “This movie should be played loud!” And it’s true! There’s a special feeling of being in a loud, intense club – it’s one of frenzy, euphoria and disorientation, punctuated by surreal melodies and anchored to powerful beats. Der Nachtmahr is full of these things, but it doesn’t use these sights and sounds gratuitously – it all makes sense, often underscoring the psychological state of the protagonist.
The movie is a thriller. Not quite a horror, not gory, not gross. It does keep your heart rate up, does have some gasps and edge-of-your-seat moments. The lead girl is super cool and really easy on the eyes, and her struggle is an intense, fun one to identify with. The overall meaning of the plot is labyrinthine and ambiguous – I certainly cannot say what really happened, even. In this sense, it’s sort of a Lynchian film, with some Requiem for a Dream vibes. It’s a super cool movie and everyone should check it out!
Karo is not having an easy time in Berlin right now. She lost her job, her boyfriend too, and no one seems to have much sympathy for her. Much like the title of the film that she is the main character in, she feels like a Mängelexemplar, which is the quirky German word for a book that has some flaws. Don’t we all feel like this somehow? Like something is not quite right with us and that that’s the reason our life is not going as we had hoped? Karo perfectly embodies these self-doubts with her neurotic, yet charming and funny self. She is the type of girl that you just want to cry with when you feel horrible. After the jump: her 8 favorite places to cry in Berlin and the trailer for the new film that is released in cinemas today.
“Many recent articles have attempted to tackle the subject of dating in Berlin, explaining why and how the dating scene here is seen as a difficult one. People are said to ‘fall in love with the city and only with the city’.” This is the summery of the documentary film Berlin Way of Love.
Does this sound familiar to you? To be honest it sounds familiar to me. And to be even more honest it’s probably about me. Through a combination of funny circumstances I was asked to participate in a short documentary about love in Berlin called Berlin Way of Love. Together with Jule Müller from im gegenteil we had a short interview session where we had to share our “expertise” ( hilarious!) about dating in Berlin and why it is so difficult. The cherry on top of this absurd situation was that I had to talk in English which I did with my strongest, most charming German accent. As you might imagine watching the final documentary is not as fun for myself as it might be for you. But still I have to admit that it is a very charming short movie with some funny insights about dating in Berlin.
The Berlin underground scene is one of the most diverse in the world. Makes sense – where there is a large society, there is also an underground, an anti-pole to the mainstream. If you look around the Hip Hop scene nowadays, a lot of things have changed. The subcultural character of Hip Hop seemingly vanished and slowly but steadily German Rap became mainstream. But still, Hip Hop is the voice of the unheard, an organ for the youth and a space for resistance.
Young filmmaker and and photographer Mirza Odabaşı took it upon himself to go back in time, to the origins of Berlin and German Rap culture and met up with a wide range of artists and personalities from the scene. In his documentary LeidenSchafft, a pun from the words “passion”, “misery” and “creation”, Odabaşı goes into the deep meanings of the local Rap culture, talks about identity and finding and defining yourself in and outside of the music. He met up with many icons of the scene, ranging from well-known artists like Marteria, Chefket, Eko Fresh and many more to rather Oldschool trailblazers such as Killa Hakan, Marcus Staiger or Spaiche.
In 43 minutes Odabaşı manages to get into topics such as experiences of social exclusion, some of the possible reasons to why Hip Hop is so popular amongst the alleged socially disadvantaged adolscents and portrays the people shaping the German Hip Hop scene in beautiful images in Berlin.
In that way, “LeidenSchafft” is a look back and an appraisal at the same time, bringing light to the underground. And human emotions.
See some impressions of the film and a teaser after the jump.