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Member Lists

Berlin, Berlin.
List creator: dwhudson
Created on: January 9, 2003 - 3:08 PM PST
Description: Originally a Daily 5, I thought I'd add a few titles.

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Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)
Not Rated
  5 years later than the next film, but this really ought to kick off the list.
Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (Disc 1 of 2) (1922)
Not Rated
  So soon after WWI, the city was pulsating with sex, drugs, gambling, crimes of all sorts, but also the good stuff, like culture... and sex, drugs...
Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (Disc 2 of 2) (1922)
Not Rated
  Lang: "Dr. Mabuse was a Superman... a Nietzschean superman in the bad sense of the term."
Marlene Dietrich - Her Own Story (2001)
Not Rated
  Marlene-Dietrich-Platz is at the very center of the "New Berlin". She was despised for leaving (immediately after the premiere of Blue Angel), but still sang, "Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin..." ("I still have a suitcase in Berlin...")
The Blue Angel (German Version) (1930)
  H. Mann's novel was set in Lübeck, but this became a Berlin film, through and through. Marlene embodied the erotic decadence of the city at its prime: "My name is naughty Lola / The favorite of the gang / I have a pianola / At home with lots of tang..."
The Blue Angel (English Version) (1930)
  Jannings and Sternberg fought ceaselessly, but when it came time for Sternberg to leave for America (with Marlene), the actor knocked on the director's door: "Whatever happens, Jo, I know that when I die, you will weep, and that I will weep when you die."
Cabaret (1972)
  Exiles swarmed Berlin between the wars and Christopher Isherwood was among the best chroniclers of the atmo. CI scoffed at the Hollywoodization of his stories, but Fosse did a much better job than he gave him credit for.
Aimee & Jaguar (1999)
  Two marvelous performances. The film also very well captures the look, feel and geography of the city. And of course, chronologically, here we head into horrors...
The Road To Berlin (2001)
  New books from both Britain and Germany have been examining a previously taboo subject: The Germans suffered tremendously at the end of WWII, too. Particularly in the east, where the Red Army -- in some ways understandably, of course -- showed no mercy.
Murderers Are Among Us (1946)
  The first feature made in Germany after WWII. Tellingly, in the east. Tellingly, because it's an exercise in immediate denazification, even as it tackles head on the duelling emotions of loss and guilt.
Germany Year Zero (1947)
  The title alone. Billy Wilder came to ravaged Berlin to tell stories of reconstruction, but Rossellini knew there were stories to be told of people whose lives were so shattered they could never be put back together again.
One, Two, Three (1961)
Not Rated
  A perennial favorite in the city. Wilder came to the set on the morning of August 13, 1961 to find stones blocking his shot of the Brandenburger Gate. The first stones of the Wall.
Funeral in Berlin (1966)
Not Rated
  We need a classic Cold War spy story in here, and who better to include (except for perhaps John LeCarre's Smiley) than Michael Caine's Harry Palmer?
The Legend of Paul and Paula (1973)
  Maybe the most beloved film among eastern Germans, both before and after the fall of the Wall. It's still enjoying a healthy run in one Berlin theater.
Christiane F. (1982)
  Defined the image of West Berlin for the rest of West Germany in the 80s. The dark, dark side of the city's penchant for sex and drugs. Music (Bowie's "Heroes", etc) and clubs become an essential part of Berlin's identity from here through 90s techno.
What To Do In Case of Fire? (2002)
  Really not a very good movie, but at the very least, it gets a tip of the hat for taking on a subject that's ripe for more, maybe some day, better storytelling: Berlin as a hotbed of leftist and anarchist activity at the height of the Cold War.
Wings of Desire (Criterion) (1987)
  Sentimentality can be Wenders's Achilles heel, but this unabashedly sentimental film soars. A personal all-time favorite.
Faraway, So Close! (1993)
  The utterly unnessarily (but not, you know, unpleasant) sequel.
Good Bye, Lenin! (2002)
  It's such a marvelous premise, you only hope the filmmakers will meet it halfway; but they realize it to the fullest. My favorite scenes: Alex and his Russian girlfriend explore post-Wall nightlife, a moment that came close to the 20s for the city.
Lola and Billy the Kid (1998)
  How great it is for this list that this film is available on DVD. No picture of contemporary Berlin is complete without at least a glimpse of the Turkish or gay scenes. Here, we have both and, as they say, much, much more.
Run Lola Run (1998)
  So effective in the branding of the "New Berlin", a mayor (now gone) used its imagery in his reelection campaign. Until Tykwer made him stop. There have been films that update life in Berlin since Lola, but they have yet to make it to DVD.

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