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!
Halle am Berghain, photo: iHeartBerlin
Hey guys, did you know it’s Spring now? The sun is mostly shining, the streets are filling up, and everyone is looking pretty happy. There’s no better way to enjoy the season than to hop around town from one gallery to another, and this is the weekend to do it. Tons of galleries are opening interesting exhibitions with cool receptions to stand around at; there are lots of options, so you have no excuse: Get to a vernissage and mingle! Wondering what to see? Don’t worry – we got you covered. Here are our recommendations for Gallery Weekend Berlin 2016.
photos: Keith Telfeyan
On the scenic Spree riverbank at Hauptbahnhof’s Washingtonplatz once set a pavilion by the tourism board of Mexico. The installation highlighted the many wonders of this country – its cuisine, its heritage and its natural beauty. The pavilion’s dome featured the latest in flashy, interactive technology – I wore an Occulus Rift VR headset for the first time.
Mexico is indeed an awesome travel destination. I visited in December – it was the perfect warm getaway from the Berlin cold. I went to the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea, home to Playa del Carmen and Tulum of the Riviera Maya.
Whether you’re in the mood for romance, showing a friend around from out of town, or just collecting your own thoughts outdoors, it’s always a good idea to take a stroll through Berlin’s cosmopolitan wonder. And now that the lovely spring weather is arriving, can you think of anything better?
Kastanienallee and its surrounding area has a reputation for being a bit uppity, perhaps too trendy, perhaps too crowded with tourists and young moms and their baby strollers. But despite the onslaught of haters, the Kiez continues to be one of the most beautiful areas in the city, if not the world!
photo: sfreimark / CC
It’s hard to think of anything more quintessentially Berlin than Mauerpark. It contains so much of what this city is about. Is there any phrase more encapsulating of Berlin than “wall park”? It speaks to the city’s storied past, and to our contemporary lifestyle of leisure and charm. Situated on Prenzlauer Berg’s western border with Gesundbrunnen, it’s perhaps the perfect spot to spend a pleasant day, while momentarily reflecting on the city’s history.
Every visitor to Berlin wants to see the wall. To this end, we have options. There’s the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain with its famous paintings, there’s Checkpoint Charlie, the most touristy and mainstream spot, there’s the stately, dignified Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer), and there’s Mauerpark. Mauerpark is cool because it really is a great destination on its own, and is surrounded by the most vibrant neighborhood out of these options.
It’s officially Spring now, but you wouldn’t quite know it based on the weather. The first days of spring still show temperatures around 5C. Things do look to change soon, but it’s dangerous for us to get our hopes up.
We want to believe. We want the sun to arrive and never leave us. But haven’t we been fooled in the past? Hasn’t the winter chill lasted well into April?
Regardless, we can still hope for our winter habits to disappear soon enough, to start going out more, to come out of hibernation. More and more, we can turn those Facebook event statuses from “interested” to “going.” We can look forward to relying less on every club’s coat check, for those piles of coats and scarves in every bar to slowly melt away.
Enjoy the last of those cozy nights in! The movies on your laptop with your winter cuff! Of course you can still enjoy your apartment in the warmer weather, but it won’t be nearly as appealing. Now is the time to start saying goodbye to the habits of the cold…
photos: Keith Telfeyan
I’m going to Sleep. Not to bed – to the special performance happening this week at Kraftwerk. But yes, I probably will sleep there. There will be beds, after all.
Max Richer, the “perennially audacious British composer” as Pitchfork calls him, is staging a conceptual project here in Berlin, and I’m deeply curious. Doors to the concert hall open at 21h, the live music begins at midnight and lasts eight hours. In the morning, it’s time to go. Will it be a beautiful symphony of strings and sythesizers to savor throughout the night? Will it achieve its goal and put everyone into slumber? What will the energy feel like??
illustration: Jacqueline Pulsack
I LOVE going to the movies. I love seeing visual art and storytelling on the big screen, hearing sound through big speakers, my senses encapsulated. I love the architecture and physical space of going to the movies, entering from city streets into a particular lobby and then into the seats of an auditorium. I love the social aspect of congregating in a dark, silent room with others to pay attention to something important. Yes, I enjoy watching movies at home, but there’s something about a formal start time, a public event, a demand for reverence without distractions that only the cinema provides.
When I moved to Berlin from New York, I was worried how hard it might be to enjoy going to the movies. One of the best things about New York is its unabashed love for film, and the many wonderful theaters that celebrate quality cinema. The German-speaking world is such a big market — and most people are so subtitle-averse — that American films are generally dubbed over in German for theatrical release. If your German is still as bad as mine, this can be a serious problem!
photos: Keith Telfeyan
Hamburger Bahnhof is perhaps Berlin’s best space to see contemporary art. When friends or family visit from out of town, this is the perfect contrast to the more traditional offerings on Museum Island, and there always seems to be an interesting event happening there, making it a regular spot for local friends as well. The permanent collection is world class, and the architecture is uniquely awesome – it is indeed a former train station, and the museum designers did well to convert the halls and long corridor into a sort of shrine for big ideas and creative feelings.
It’s here! One of the world’s premiere film festivals sets up shop for the next ten days in theaters all around the city. Are you going? Yes, it can be a bit of a hassle to try and snag tickets, since it feels like the whole film world descends on our city – Hollywood insiders, independent financiers and other various movers & shakers. But it’s also fun to get swept up in the hype, especially when there are such good films to see! And there’s still time to get tickets to tons of films through the Berlinale website – tickets are released three days before the screenings. To help you navigate the crazy 400 + films in the programme and the goings on around the cinema, here are our Berlinale recommendations.