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Berlin for film lovers

Film lovers will have a great time in Berlin; every winter the city hosts one of the most important film festivals in the world, the Berlinale. During the rest of the year there is also plenty to entertain film buffs. Visit the set of classic science fiction film ‘Metropolis’ in the oldest film studio in the world. Or watch silent movies accompanied by live piano music in one of Berlin’s art cinemas. In addition to the large multiplex cinemas, there are many art cinemas that screen films in their original version.

No city is as film crazy as Berlin. Dozens of movies are filmed in Berlin every year: in ‘Valkyrie’, Tom Cruise appears in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock; and Matt Damon fans may recognise the large clock on Alexanderplatz from ‘The Bourne Supremacy’. Cinemas are very popular here. The city has dozens of them - from the ultra-modern Cinemaxx with 19 movie screens and thousands of seats to obscure art cinemas such as Eiszeit. You can also visit the modernist Kino International, the venue for all red carpet film premiers in the days of the GDR.

The World Time Clock at Alexanderplatz
The World Time Clock at Alexanderplatz

Berlin

The Berlinale International Film Festival

After the Berlinale: other film festivals

Berlin’s most important film festival is the Berlinale, which takes place every year in February. Film stars fly in from Hollywood and around the world to attend. But there is more than just that one festival. The Berlin Independent Film Festival also takes place in February, in the art cinema Babylon. In spring, the Xposed International Queer Film Festival screens short films for fans of gay themes. Every April, Achtung Berlin shows films that have been shot in and around Berlin. In summer there are numerous outdoor cinemas, including in Mitte, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. Fans of fantasy films queue up for the Fantasy Filmfest in August.

Visiting the set of Marlene Dietrich

Studio Babelsberg was founded in 1912 and is the oldest film studio in the world. Hundreds of films have been shot here, including the science fiction classic ‘Metropolis’ by Fritz Lang and ‘Der blaue Engel’ with Marlene Dietrich. Tours are only in German.


Nearby Filmpark Babelsberg makes for a great day trip with the kids. Another nearby attraction is the former ‘Filmmuseum der DDR’, which is now the Filmmuseum Potsdam and hosts exhibits and special film screenings. The Museum für Film und Fernsehen is located on Potsdamer Platz in the centre of Berlin.

Character from Metropolis in Filmpark Babelsberg
Kino Babylon from 1928

Subtitled films

Large multiplexes such as the Cinemaxx on Potsdamer Platz screen mostly dubbed films, but the smaller cinemas show films in their original language with subtitles – look in the movie listings for ‘OmU’ (original with German subtitles) or ‘Omengl.U’ (original with English subtitles). Babylon specialises in European cinema and regularly screens silent movies accompanied by live piano music or a restored original pipe organ. Xenon screens mostly gay films, Odeon specialises in English-language films and the Hackesche Höfe Kino shows art house films and world cinema.

Photo credits

  • The Berlinale International Film Festival: cinemafestival, Shutterstock
  • Character from Metropolis in Filmpark Babelsberg: Frank M. Rafik, Flickr
  • Kino Babylon from 1928: GloomyCorp, Flickr