Hidden Gem – Deutsche Kinemathek (Film Museum), Berlin

 
 

Calling all holidaying film buffs – Westley Barnes tempts the culturally-minded with a glimpse inside the doors of Berlin’s premier film museum

Located at Potsdamer Platz, Deutsche Kinemathek is Germany’s premier film museum and archive. A tour of the museum offers a chance to experience how ground-breaking German cinema was at its height during the 1920’s and 30’s, and how the country continues to remain an innovating and exciting force within world cinema. In its heyday, the film studios of Berlin’s Universum Film AG (UFA) gave us the vampire in Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922), the first shot of that eternally recurring feminine fashion statement that was Louise Brooks’ bob hairstyle in Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), and the technological advantages and terrors perpetuated in the science fiction’s cityscape in Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927).

Displayed across three floors are the original set designs, posters, archive footage and director’s opinions on these many ground-breaking films. Each room includes massive screens where the viewer is given a chance to witness the films in all their restored glory. The propaganda section is particularly thought-provoking, revealing insights from the era of Goebbels’s policy on German cinema. UFA decline during the Nazi era was brought about by both the forced emigration of its greatest directors, as well as German cinema’s brightest leading lady, Marlene Dietrich, to Hollywood, as well as the ruthless artistic censorship enforced on the technicians who stayed.

The third floor of the museum is dedicated to contemporary German cinema, from the 1970’s New Wave films of famed directors such as Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders, to more recent successes such as Run Lola Run (1998) the Oscar-winning The Lives of Others (2007) and the hugely impressive historical biopic The Baader-Meinhoff Complex (2008).

A must for any cinema lover visiting Berlin, the museum is a fine example of how the arts can provide something inspiring even during a nation’s darkest era and within a city’s most alarmingly expansive districts. Admission is only €6.50 for a day ticket and the Museum is open on public holidays. The fact that it is located in Europe’s most exhilarating cultural capital only strengthens its appeal.

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