Berlin is definitely not L.A. Even though the German capital has several production companies and the big Filmstudios Babelsberg right outside the city, during the year the local movie-industry is nearly invisible. Invisible but not non-existent. No wonder they shine even brighter at the biggest festival in Germany for contemporary film culture: Berlinale.
At this year’s edition not only did we have the chance to visit the press previews from several movies but also we got an exclusive backstage tour of the festival including a visit to the photo studio with Canon, sponsor and creative partner of the festival.
We breathed some air of glamour and lots of love and devotion for the art on celluloid while speaking with the team of Berlinale who did not hesitate to answer all our questions and explain us in details everything about the cultural DNA of this celebration of creativity.
After the jump we show you our Backstage discoveries and tell you more about our incredible highlight of the festival.
Filmstill: Welt am Draht
The startling cold of February in Berlin has returned, and with it comes the 67th edition of the Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin, also known as the Berlinale or Berlin Film Festival. The festival begins February 9th and runs through the 19th. As with every year’s edition, there are an overwhelming number of screenings to choose from, even though most bigger-name titles tend to sell out of public tickets at alarming rates. Nevertheless, there are plenty of lesser-known titles worth your time. Guest Author Maximilien Proctor highlights a few of his most anticipated pictures (but don’t let it discourage you from seeking screenings even further off the beaten path!).
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.
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.
UPDATED for 2017!
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. Read on…
Sarah P, photo: Fotini Chora
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.