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.
photo: Christmas Garden Berlin
Although the weather doesn’t really suggest it, the holiday season is indeed upon us and while some are anxiously waiting to open another window in their advent calendar, others regard all the festivities merely as an opportunity to steal a ketchup container from Christmas hot dogs stands on Alexanderplatz, which is an exceptionally Berlin-like crime I have actually witnessed.
And that serves as a sufficient example to say that the idea of a perfect Christmas will definitely differ from person to person. Many of you will travel to see family, others will celebrate with friends, and there’s more than a few that are going to be happy to finally not be bothered with any company at all. So for those of you who’re staying in Berlin this month and consider leaving the house at some point, we’ve come up with a few suggestions as varied as it gets, and some of them not even Christmas related.
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.
One look at how fast the tickets for the screening of Nick Cave’s recent movie are selling is enough to say that at least part of Berlin adores this guy. And although the kind of love sadly prevailing in the Bear City is probably the unrequited one, the proof of Cave’s devotion to the Hauptstadt is an indubitable part of its history.
After the screening of last year’s music documentary “B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin 1979 – 1989” at the Mobile Kino over at Grießmühle, people actually started to applaud as the lights went on. It seemed like the film could provide anyone with a reason to shed a tear or two; it caused some to reflect on their youth, and others to wonder how the fuck did techno eventually prevail.
What I found most moving though is a short footage of Nick Cave doing a little room tour, almost as if he anticipated Youtube and its current vlog trends. “This is my bedroom”, he says, sliding off a black thick curtain separating his bed from the rest of the room, which is today a standard design for many a dwelling of a Berlin artist.
“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…