A Movie Lovers Berlin
28 September, 2016
In times when being a tourist has become so passé – the learned traveller wisely tries to avoid crowded places when seeking out the heart of a city – you could do worse than hunt for cinemas with character when visiting another country. Traditional cinemas have vanished in many places. I am referring to the ones with just a single auditorium – or two at most – which are not owned by some international conglomerate. Architecturally quaint buildings where cinema-goers felt like pilgrims going to a special place.
Berlin is a cinema lover’s capital in itself. Directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders were obsessed with it. Indeed, Wenders immortalised the city in his Wings of Desire and Faraway, So Close! (a sequel to the former), which have spawned articles and tours that point up the importance of Berlin’s architecture and real landmarks from the films – the Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate and Staatsbibliothek, designed by Hans Scharoun. With such a cinema tradition behind it, no wonder the city has so many movie theatres to choose from. More so, those that pamper their appearance and their movie listings. Following is our choice of five of the best which, to wit, offer some added value, such as screening films in English or featuring subtitles in that language. So, if you’re a devotee of the seventh art with a smattering of English, or merely wish to visit the buildings and their cafés, this rundown is for you.
One of the city’s most prestigious cinemas, which screens original-version movies. It comprises three, small but well-equipped auditoriums, as well as a bar-café and a video library with a large selection of films on DVD and Blu-ray. The interior is amazing – some of the rooms look like a set from a film by David Lynch. Ladenkino is located in the Friedrichshain district, very near Boxhagener Platz, where a well-known open-air flea market is held every Sunday.
Located in Schöneberg, one of Berlin’s most charming quarters –Marlene Dietrich and Helmut Newton were both born here – the area is also celebrated for its attractive culinary offerings. The Odeon captivates from the outset, prominently featuring a green neon light and an old-school awning displaying screening times, and witty phrases and questions, setting the scene for cinema-goers. Their forte is signature films and independent cinema.
The punkiest cinema in this list, wholly in tune with Berlin’s industrial imagery, artistically speaking. They have two auditoriums and a highly varied programme based on American and English films far removed from all grandiose Hollywood blockbusters, save for the odd exception. Located a few metres from Hackescher, a beautiful square in Berlin’s Mitte quarter which also hosts a market. Kino Central is one of the city’s film lovers’ secret haunts.
The cradle of Berlin’s punk movement, the Kreuzberg district boasts a healthy culture scene, so be sure to visit the legendary SO36 club, where Iggy Pop and David Bowie were regular clients in the seventies. The Babylon cinema is one of its nerve centres and features two auditoriums in a three-storey building with a history, which offers a bit of everything, from Indie cinema to the re-screening of classics and also horror movies (a festival of this genre is held every October).
“Spectacular” is the word that best defines this small palace, seemingly a throwback from former times. In effect, its history stretches back several decades and both the auditorium and other facilities are markedly vintage. This is a peerless setting for raising the cinema experience to another level. It is sited in an awesome location, hard by the legendary Alexanderplatz, which makes it a compulsory landmark for any inquiring sightseer.
Fire up and discover these temples for movie lovers – book your Vueling here.
Text by Xavi Sánchez for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
28 September, 2016