Anyone who has seen the second season of the iconic TV show America Horror Story knows: Old asylums are creepy as fuck. Berlin has one of those pretty close by, I’m sure some of you have heard about the Refugium Beelitz that is located a bit South of Potsdam and can easily be reached by train. The asylum was built in the late 19th century for patients with lunge diseases. In the years of the two world wars it was used as a lazaret and sanatorium before it became a regular clinic for the remaining half of the century. Around 2000 it was abandoned and its condition deteriorated over the years. The special charm of the architecture mixed with the decay made it a magnet for film makers who shot Hollywood films here, but also for perverted minds, such as one particular guy back in 2008 who lured girls there for photo shootings that ended really ugly for them.
Recently another movie was shot here that drew my attention to this amazing place. It’s the Danish movie Men & Chicken with Mads Mikkelsen, who you might remember from the James Bond movie Casino Royale and who currently plays Hannibal Lector in the American TV show Hannibal. The new film by celebrated director Anders Thomas Jensen is quite the awkward piece about a pair of weird brothers who end up in the old mansion of their new-found biological father. The mansion in the film is actually the Refugium Beelitz and it’s so interesting to see the place taken out of its own context and into this completely different story. Enjoy some photos of the Refugium Beelitz with some strange intruders after the jump.
In the summer of 2009, brothers Joel and Joshua Alas decided to invest some money in a digital projector with plans to start their own open-air film night. What resulted from the little open-air screening in the Lessinghöhe Park in Neukölln was what we now know as Mobile Kino. The digital age has hit cinemas, and as 35mm projections began to fade away, we lost some of the magic of the movies. So, the Mobile Kino crew (comprised of a team of Berlin projectionists, cinema managers and programmers) decided to step in and create an HD digital cinema-on-wheels in the form of a beautiful Christiania transport bike. Over the years, the project has evolved working with a variety of partners, filmmakers and guest programmers; working with filmmakers directly or German distributors to ensure their proceeds go to the right people. Also iHeartBerlin has teamed up with the guys from Mobile Kino for basically all of their film events including the Berlin Film Nights and the Cinéma de Mode. Click on to find out more about this project that has become a household name among movie-lovers, and see which screenings you can catch this month.
The open air cinema season is in full bloom and this year there seem to be so many special screenings lined up – it feel almost like a renaissance for the cinema, but under the blue sky with lots of friends and not inside a dark multiplex surrounded by strangers. We love it!
July will start with a very special pop-up open air cinema: The Audi Urban Cinema was already a huge hit in the last years and now it’s back with an amazing 3-day-program at Kulturbrauerei featuring some of the biggest cinema highlights of recent time and a couple of amazing short films by upcoming film makers. From July 1-3, 2015, you can look forward to Nightcrawler, Monsieur Claude and his Daughters, and finally Wes Anderson’s last big hit The Grand Budapest Hotel. What is going to make these open air screenings so special is not just the movie selection, but also the unusual comfort you will be enjoying these movies in: Forget the improvised beer bench and plastic chair that you know from other open air screenings. You will be watching these films out of Audi cabriolets, stacked-up shipping containers decorated like cosy living rooms, or from comfy lounge chairs on the lawn. There will of course also be drinks and snacks to make your movie experience even better and the best thing: The entrance is for free, you just register over here.
We are giving away some exclusive tickets for the extra special seat options on July 2 to see the delightful French movie Monsieur Claude and his Daughters. Find out after the jump how to win!
Victoria is the title of a brand new movie with Berlin’s nightlife as one of the leading roles. The film by Sebastian Schipper tells the story of Victoria, a Spanish girl visiting the city who meets a group of guys from Berlin in front of a club. What starts as a wild flirt with one of them and fun night slowly develops into a suspenseful and dangerous trip. The whole movie was shot in one take which creates a very authentic and unique style of the film that really sets it apart from the normal German cinema. No wonder the film won the silver bear of this year’s Berlinale for Best Camera Work.
This Thursday on June 11, 2015, Victoria has her theatrical release here in Berlin. Read on to see some images and the trailer and for your chance to win tickets for the film!
Wings of Desire
Rainer Werner Fassbinder exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau got us thinking of all the important and inspiring films set in Berlin. In a subversive metropolis that has seen more changes than anywhere in Western Europe over the last 150 years, many filmmakers have made movies as unmistakable love letters to Berlin. With no lack of deranged tentacle sex, drug abuse and political struggle, we’ve rounded up our favorite films with Berlin playing a major role. Spanning close to 9 decades, our list takes you on a tour of Berlin at different historical points, through all the luxe and glamour, the horror and disillusion. From German Expressionism to German New Wave, click on to see which films made the cut.
Solos by Antonio da Silva
It’s been 10 years since Michael Stütz and Bartholomew Sammut, the directors of the Xposed International Queer Film Festival sat in the basement of SchwuZ wondering if anyone would show up to their film festival. Featuring a selectionof passionate, captivating, crazy and undeniably weird queer short films, Xposed has since evolved to giving audiences an indepth look into queer culture and identity. Queer is a term that has progressed with our society into what I’d describe as a positive, unassuming representation of non-binary identity, and for the past 10 years, Xposed has been teaching us all to stand our ground. From May 21st-24th at Kino Moviemento, you can get a taste of the festival’s glory, shame, distaste, trash and beauty, all made with a love for queer cinema, for Berlin and for the ever-expanding storytelling possibilites of within the world of film. This year, they’re introducing the Queer Short Film Fund, which aims to help get Berlin based queer film projects into production. These films, just like those in the festival program, should aim to challenge and question normative perspectives and silmultaeously broaden their vision to topics beyond traditional LGBTQIA+ representation in the mainstream niche market. Click on to see some program highlights as well as this year’s festival teaser.
photo: Ilse Ruppert
One of the treasures of this year’s Berlinale was the documentary B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin that captured the wild and crazy years of West-Berlin in the 80s before the wall came down. I know that we commonly always think that it was the East part of Germany that was behind the wall in the case of Berlin it was actually the West part that was walled-in like a prison. It must have been a strange feeling to be surrounded by the Soviet-led East Germany and I am not surprised that this led to a lot of chaos, craziness and rebellions of the youth culture. The 80s are known for its punk and rave eras and you can still feel the influences of that in fashion and music nowadays. It’s funny when the older generations comment the 80s by saying: Oh, you remember the 80s? Than apparently you haven’t been there… I was still so young back than and too far away from Berlin deep inside East Germany that I didn’t catch anything of it. But thanks to the film B-Movie by Jörg A.Hoppe, Klaus Maeck and Heiko Lange I have a chance to relive it through a lot of footage from the time, a lot of it previously unreleased.
The film follows British musician, actor and author Mark Reeder as he moves to Berlin to discover the creative underground scene of the strange city. The film is like a collage of images from the nightlife, the street riots, the art and music scene – there is definitely a lot of sex, drugs and rock’n roll involved. We encounter a young Nick Cave as he dips into the city, we meet Westbam before the Loveparade and many more legendary characters that started their careers in this period of political instability. It was a world that was undergoing drastic changes which made everything more extreme and I think this is what made the 80s so significant in the history of Berlin. Watch the trailer after the jump and I think you will understand what I am talking about…
When is someone truly German? In “Past Present Tense,” filmmaker Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo creates a discourse on racism that provokes us to examine the question of German identity and its relationship to racism of the past and present. Through the years of social and political transitions, Germany’s identity has been shaped into the contemporary society we know. This film encourages the audience to analyze their perception of class, race and privilege on a national scale, though I couldn’t help but notice how prevalent the issue was in Berlin alone. Through the intimate stories told from the perspectives of Germans of minority descent, I found both solace and frustration in hearing about their experiences and opinions, much of which often go unheard and unseen in Berlin, as topics like racial discrimination may be too fragile for conversation when our society has been working to repress the past. So are we still infatuated with past ideals? Click on to examine the question of racism in contemporary Berlin and see some of the film highlights.
Verena von Stackelberg is a brave woman with a burning passion for film. Opening her very own cinema was her idea for a while and when she stumbled across the perfect venue on Weserstrasse, she jumped at the opportunity. Her crowd funding campaign to finance her magical paradise for all lovers of film is now running. We spoke to her about her vision, the cinema scene and her favourite film of all times…
The Butter Lamp by Hu Wei
It’s Oscar season again, and as the eagerly anticipated and globally televised event airs on February 22nd 2015, Mobile Kino will be giving Berliners three special screenings of the short films in competition. The Oscars have narrowed down hundreds of internationally submitted short films to just 10, and Mobile Kino, together with ShortsHD will be holding an event at Urban Spree for you to experience them projected onto a big screen. The shorts program is divided into two categories: Live Action and Animation. The 5 live cction shorts will be screened on Saturday, February 21st 2015 at 21h with an encore the next day at 18h, and the 5 animated films will be screened on Sunday, February 22nd 2015 at 16h. There is going to be yet another encore of the Live Action films on April 2, 2015 at Il Kino at Nansenstr. 22. Click on to see the trailers of these innovative stories.