In trying to get back to a sense of normalcy again, we must all agree that a lot has happened. People have lost their lives. Children have whisked themselves away from family responsibilities into distant places to ensure their parent’s safety. Plans have been shifted, changed, and postponed. Jobs, relationships, and several other opportunities have evaporated into thin air. Universities, Shops, and Restaurants have turned down services. Schools and other institutions have closed their doors and turned towards the digital. And we are now learning new ways of treating ourselves and each other as we find better alternatives to our lives. In the spirit of wanting to take a new leave, I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I forced myself to remember. I reflected on my past. I traveled through certain corners of my mind I had completely cut off for reasons I cannot say out loud without risking putting myself in an uncomfortable position.
As if this year wasn’t already like a Kubrick film, mysterious monoliths like the one in 2001: Space Odyssey started appearing around the world. And I bet you didn’t know that Berlin had its own.
The first monolith, found in Utah’s Red Rock Country by some biologists surveying bighorn sheep from a helicopter, was placed there sometime in 2016.
Berlin is known as the LGBTQIA+ capital of the world, with its reputation dating 100 years back. The city welcomes all types of people, making it the perfect place for otherwise marginalized groups to feel not only at home but also celebrated and – why not? – normal. Its nightlife is famous for being open to all sorts of experimentation.
In the 24h+ parties, people from all walks of life express themselves freely and expansively. Everybody can exist, take up space, and move however they feel comfortable.
Dear film lovers,
Have you spent the whole summer re-watching Parasite in every language and overdosed on Little Women in every Freiluftkino in town? (sidenote: yes, we also miss the Greta Gerwig from Lady Bird) Let’s not even talk about your unhappy relationship with your brand-new video on demand platform (#sosadsohorny). We know you are missing the plush velvet of the cinema seat and are longing for the romantic darkness of the theater and the mystical energy wrapped up in it. You are like us: yearning for a new type film event like the Porn Film Festival, Berlin Feminist Film Week, The Xposed International Queer Film Festival, Woche der Kritik and of course the gold standard, Berlinale.
Film freaks, we have something that is just for you: the fourth edition of the Visionär Film Festival. Originally slated to begin in April (go home Ms. Corona), the festival will take place (in person!) from September 21st to 28th. VFF showcases new talents, offering a selection of filmmakers from around the world who prove to be daring, original, and visionary in their debut full-length films. Because there are only so many hours in the day, here is a guide to the must-see films:
The Movie Chasing Paper Birds premieres on the 17th of September and is going to trigger a nostalgic feeling in many of us. It is a film that gives a raw and beautiful insight into Berlin’s soul in the decade of the 2010s, with the focus on Friedrichshain and all the different characters that made this Kiez so special.
As a former director of music videos and image films, Mariana Jukica has made it possible to perceive Berlin’s spirit and captured every spark. She awakens memories of a lived madness, in a time before touristy hooligans took over the city.
The movie is narrated from three perspectives. Mia, Keks and Ian, who are in their late twenties to early thirties, are all on the run from reality and on the hunt for their own personal happiness.
photos: Eylül Aslan.
Berlin’s dating scene is shaped by three important factors. First of all, mostly thanks to its kinky parties, Berlin is a city commonly characterized by a spirit of sexual liberation. Secondly, while it’s a popular choice for international expatriates, some see it as an ultimate destination, and others as a temporary stop. And finally, the notion of “finding yourself” in Berlin is used equally often as a synonym for deep soul-searching and as an excuse for flaky behavior.
The clubs of Berlin have reopened with new, Corona-friendly daytime concepts but one key element is missing: dancing. This has forced Berliners to deconstruct the idea of clubbing and ask themselves what they were searching for in clubs before and where they can find it now.
At the risk of stating the obvious, dancing is a big part of club culture. It is fun, it is a way to enjoy the music, and it is refreshing not to sit straight and hold a conversation all the time while being intoxicated. Consequently, the lockdown gave new life to the recently somewhat neglected illegal rave culture. The second part of this series investigates the illegal, private, and spontaneous dance parties that have been popping up all over the city and the controversies surrounding them.
Halle, photo: Roman März.
There are many other reasons to come to Berlin apart from the clubs but they are definitely among the most popular ones. Techno has its roots in Detroit and the Afrofuturism movement but both the name and the current widespread popularity have to do with what it evolved into in Berlin.
While these parties are still relatively underground in many cities, Berlin has embraced rave culture and built a special relationship with its clubs and their audience. Berghain has already secured legal status as a cultural institution, and other clubs are fighting for the same. Club tourists are also valued by the city’s government as a major contribution to the economy.
Wilden Renate’s Overmorrow is an immersive walkthrough art experience created by over 40 artists, from well-known collectives like Bad Bruises and TrashEra to newcomers. The installations, performances, and exhibitions occupy most of the indoor spaces of Wilde Renate, and offer about 1 hour of exploration in dark, morphing spaces.
The audience enters in groups of two, with 5-minute intervals, which is about the time allocated to each room, and makes their way through the 17 interwoven “Positions.” The Positions range from exhibitions of oil paintings through interactive installations to performances, and are loosely tied together by the themes of isolation and future. They often overlap, reflect on each other, and can be seen or heard in advance, which adds to the dreamlike nature of the journey.
photos: Roger Sabaté.
Close your eyes for a second.
Imagine a 28-year-old who just moved to Berlin. She lived here a while ago, but was unable to find a proper job and returned to the country of origin. She promised herself that one day she will be back and conquer the city.
Five years later, she’s here again, this time not as a cleaner but as a project manager. She feels immune to any job market crisis, she has a strong game plan and some money to spend. New shoes? Sure! Techno party every weekend? Bam! Eating outside all week? No problem!
Now pause for a minute. Or maybe pause forever. Can you? Can you pause it forever for me, please? Cause what’s coming next is the infamous “Contagion” reenactment which washed away all my dreams and hopes. Yes, this careless adult was me, stuck so much in my capitalist privileges, that being laid off completely crushed my world.