Virtual Berlin: TV Series & Movies

🍿 Popcorn EmojiRight now, Berlin is probably quite far away for you. But that shouldn’t mean that your connection to Berlin has to be as well. And so that you are able to keep touch to Berlin and the German language, we gathered all our favourite German movies and TV series here, with all of them (with one tiny exception) either set in or about Berlin.

TV SERIES

4 Blocks

4 Blocks ist die beste deutsche Serie seit langem4 Blocks is the German answer to every American gangster movie and series. The drama series delves into the dark world of organized crime, family feuds and gang violence inBerlin-Neukölln. It’s like the Narcos of Berlin – very intense, very loud, and most of all very Berlin in a way. It stars all different well-known German actors. Watching this TV-Show is a good way to polish up your gangster German. Be aware, 4 Blocks has a high potential for addiction!

Where you can watch it: Amazon prime or paid TV channels, such as SKY

Seasons: Three seasons 

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Babylon Berlin

Babylon Berlin": Die 3. Staffel im Schnellcheck - DER SPIEGEL

Babylon Berlin is the most exciting and expensive German TV production to date. The popular show continues to make headlines across the globe, with its almost €40 million budget, stunning costume design, and renowned directors Tykwer, Achim von Borries, and Henk Handloegten. The first two seasons are based on the crime novel The Wet Fish by Volker Kutscher, which follows the lives of the main characters, played by Volker Bruch and Liv Lisa Fries, through Berlin in the late-1920s. After the show’s huge success, Tykwer confirmed that two more seasons are planned.

Where you can watch it: Free online stream from Das Erste here

Seasons: Three seasons and with a fourth season in the making.

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Dark

Dark“ auf Netflix: Das hat das Ende der 3. Staffel zu bedeuten

Dark– Netflix’s first German series has been a huge success, with the second season already being in the works. Without giving too much away, it begins with the disappearance of a child, leading four families to start a desperate search for answers and the solution to a mystery that impacts three generations. A mix between mystery, science-fiction, thriller, and drama, some people have called Dark the German Stranger Things. Besides just being German, the oftentimes colloquial language is a perfect way to improve your language skills while simply lying in bed or on the couch!

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Seasons: Two seasons and with a third season in the making.

MOVIES

Victoria (2015)

Victoria - Film 2015 - FILMSTARTS.de

 

Not quite light fare, but equally good, is Victoriaa film that was shot in one single continuous take. Two hours and eighteen minutes – shot from about 4:30 AM to 7:00 AM on 27 April 2014 in the Kreuzberg and Mitte neighborhoods. No cuts. The script consisted of twelve pages, with most of the dialogue being improvised. It draws you in with the typical boy meets girl storyline, until everything gets out of control. Very capturing from the first minute.

 

 

 

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B Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin (1979-1989)  (2015)

B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin 1979-1989 | Trailer Original / Deutsch  | Film | critic.de

A compilation of mostly unreleased film and television footage, B-Movie documents the West Berlin sub and pop cultures that emerged in the decade before the fall of the Wall. The film is narrated by Mark Reeder, a Mancunian musician and producer, who shares his experience of Berlin when he began living there in 1978, and it tells a tale of an illusive and mysterious city that, in reality, no longer exists. Featuring notorious figures of the time like Blixa Bargeld and Nick Cave, B-Movie harnesses a strange nostalgia for a city that could only exist then; the creation, the art and the attitudes that emerged from the pain of a divided city.

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Oh Boy – US title A coffee in Berlin (2012)

Debütfilm Oh Boy: Tom Schilling driftet durch Berlin - DER SPIEGEL

Oh Boy (a black and white tragic comedy) tells the story of Niko, a Berliner in his late twenties, who dropped out of university and since then has been drifting through his days, wondering about the people around him. The film has won several German and European Film Awards.

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The Lives of Others (2006)

The Lives Of Others / Das Leben der Anderen - Film - European Film Awards

Set in 1983 in East Berlin, The Lives of Others tells the story of a playwright, Georg Dreyman, living in the occupied and monitored city. Capturing the isolation and fear that George feels, it is tale told with inescapable resonance, showing the extremity of the spying and interference within a state under watch. The people who are spying on him become intertwined in his life, and this extraordinary film offers a poignant and paranoid picture of life in East Berlin. Acclaimed for its factual and aesthetic accuracy, the film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film.

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Goodbye Lenin (2003)

Good Bye, Lenin! - Wikipedia

 

A film about Alex, a young man from East Berlin, whose mother is put into a coma during the lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and then wakes up in a reunified Germany. However, doctors tell Alex that the potential shock of such a revelation could give her a heart attack, so she must not be told of what has happened. As a result, Alex and his friends have to recreate the illusion of the GDR in his mother’s apartment for her, while outside, the two former countries are unifying.

 

 

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Berlin Alexanderplatz (2020)

Regisseur Qurbani über "Berlin Alexanderplatz" - "Das erste, was jemand auf  der Flucht verliert, ist die Würde" | deutschlandfunkkultur.de

This 2020 film drama is based on one of the most famous novels written about Germany’s capital city: „Berlin Alexanderplatz“ by Alfred Döblin. While the novel is set in between the two World Wars, the 2020 film adoption transposes the storyline to our days with an undocumented immigrant from West Africa in the central role. The film, spanning almost 3 hours, offers you a vivid, colorful and captivating insight into topics such as racism, love and psychology.

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Run Lola Run (1998)

Amazon.de: Lola rennt ansehen | Prime Video

This iconic film depicts three alternative realities as the title character, Lola, runs to try and obtain 100,000 Deutsche Mark in 20 minutes to save her boyfriend, Manni, from being killed for failing to make good on a deal. The film does not feature many famous landmarks of Berlin, but shows an intersection of every day 90s Berlin, though Berlin’s best-looking bridge – Oberbaumbrücke. Winner of several German and International Film Awards.

Happy watching!

Picture Sources: https://emojipedia-us.s3.amazonaws.com/source/skype/289/popcorn_1f37f.png ; https://cdn.sputnik.de/sendungen/popkult/four-blocks-100_v-variantBig16x9_wm-true_zc-ecbbafc6.jpg?version=42931 ; https://cdn.prod.www.spiegel.de/images/c88543e3-26f2-4def-b61c-7c630669a3ce_w1200_r1_fpx43.52_fpy49.98.jpg ; https://www.tz.de/bilder/2020/06/30/13816245/1906606865-viele-zuschauer-verwirrte-handlung-serie-dark-2zYMO9zM9vfe.jpg ; https://de.web.img2.acsta.net/pictures/15/03/12/12/44/563954.jpg ; https://www.critic.de/fileadmin/Images/2015/05/B-Movie_03.jpg ; https://cdn.prod.www.spiegel.de/images/662aa3ae-0001-0004-0000-000000417619_w1600_r1.4141129032258064_fpx45.26_fpy50.jpg ; https://imgtoolkit.culturebase.org/?color=FFFFFF&quality=8&ar_ratio=1.3&format=jpg&file=https%3A%2F%2Fimg.culturebase.org%2F5%2F3%2F8%2Ff%2Ff%2Fpic_1527079018_538ff92e676e94d639bd1a866dc22d9a.jpeg&do=cropOut&width=1200&height=585 ; https://assets.deutschlandfunk.de/FILE_d8e17b9c138bb9d1fee843b015037d1c/1280×720.jpg?t=1597628947256 ; https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/pv-target-images/e03ae3088f6891583737642f557536fdc595cb13200538acb4844607245301f8.RI.png

lgbtq+ Neighborhoods in Berlin

Datei:LGBTQ+ rainbow flag Quasar "Progress" variant.svg – Wikipedia

As Berlin is unofficially known as Europe’s gay capital, we would like to take the opportunity and give you a little overview of Berlin’s most gay friendly districts (obviously in no way is this a complete list). The neighborhoods featured have a rich density of queer bars and clubs and convey a general feeling of inclusiveness.

S c h ö n e b e r g

When the city was divided into East and West Berlin, the Schöneberg district slowly began to develop a vibrant gay and lesbian community. As the wall came down in 1989, Schöneberg’s queer community continued to grow. Today it is known for being Berlin’s most gay-friendly district and is considered the traditional center for gay culture in Berlin. Along Fuggerstrasse, there are dozens of clubs, pubs, restaurants and all manner of other businesses catering to the queer community. A hot spot for gay culture is also Schöneberg’s Motzstraße. For a more extensive list on queer pubs and clubs in Schöneberg see a map here.

Schöneberg’s queer set up also makes it a very fitting location for Berlin’s Schwules Museum* (Gay Museum), which moved from Kreuzberg to Schöneberg’s Lützowstraße a couple of years ago.  The museum presents a number of regularly changing exhibitions on everything queer. It also organizes talks, lectures and get-togethers evolving around gay culture. And! If you like to get a little bit of reading in on the topic of gay culture, their library consists of more than 20,000 volumes covering all areas of scientific inquiry from humanities, social science, sexology, fine arts and popular science. In this context it is also worth mentioning that in the last couple of years they have made a bigger effort to collect literature on female homosexuality, queer feminist theory and trans and inter experiences.

Where? Lützowstraße 73, 10785 Berlin
Opening Hours: Sun, Mon, Wed, Fri 2pm - 6 pm, Thu 2 pm - 8 pm,
Sat 2 pm - 7 pm, closed on Tuesdays
Approx. 15 minutes from the subway station Nollendorfplatz

K r e u z b e r g

The queer scene in Kreuzberg started as an alternative to the scene in Mitte. Although Kreuzberg’s queer culture has changed over the years, there are still a few staples to be found. One of them is Möbel Olfe, which is always incredibly crowded, but a real institution. It’s an old furniture store that has been remodeled into a bar with changing events and DJs. No chance for boredom.

Close to Kottbuser Tor at Mariannenstraße you find the women’s café Oya, which mostly caters to women, lesbians, trans, inter and queer individuals. This being said, all identities are welcome (except on Thursdays, which is reserved for wltiq). They offer vegan and vegetarian dishes for lunch, reasonably priced coffee for 1,80€ and drinks in the evening hours. Events at the café revolve around queer-feminist and anti-racist topics.

No chance for understatement provides Roses in Kreuzberg, where chairs and walls consist of fur fabric. The interior is a mixture of trashy and cheesy and definitely worth a visit.

At Mehringdamm you find the queer bar Rauschgold, which is also a good location for karaoke. What you’ll get at Rauschgold is a mixture of relaxing bar venue and alternative party location. Besides karaoke, they organize regular events, with a focus on drag shows (some shows are fee-based). Stay up to date with their event calendar or visit their Facebook page.

S c h w u Z  and  S i l v e r F u t u r e   i n  N e u k ö l l n

Neukölln is not necessarily known as a particularly gay district. This being said, a couple of years ago SchwuZ, one of Berlin’s favorite gay clubs, moved from its old location in Kreuzberg to its new and bigger one in Neukölln (close to the subway station Rathaus Neukölln). Besides having a bigger venue at hand, the decision to move was also a political one. The club’s move to the culturally very distinct Neukölln represents SchwuZ’s aim to combine different lifestyles and, as the owners state, „Neukölln’s exciting Kiez is an important catalyst for this.“

The bar SilverFuture located in Neukölln’s Reuterkiez could have easily been named PinkFuture, stemming from its interior. So get prepared for some serious pink and silver vibes.  The cosy queer bar is fully packed at peak times and features concerts, DJ sets and vernissages.

Harvest your own organic potatoes in Dahlem

For those of you who need a break from the (at times overwhelming) bustle of Berlin and want to reconnect with nature, be sure to visit Domäne Dahlem!

Domäne Dahlem is an organic farm in a historic country estate with a blacksmith shop and an open-air museum for agricultural and food culture. So if you’re at all interested in what organic farming in Germany looks like, this is the place to go!

Domäne Dahlem is an organic farm in a historic country estate with a blacksmith shop and an open-air museum for agricultural and food culture. So if you’re at all interested in what organic farming in Germany looks like, this is the place to go!

At their traditional potato festival, you can harvest organic potatoes from the field yourself. Both modern and historical potato varieties with different cooking properties and very different tastes and appearances are grown here. You can harvest the popular „Linda“ yourself as well as rarities, e.g. „Bamberger Hörnchen“ and „Blauer Schwede“.

Experience and discover selected stands with handicrafts and specialities, ecological delicacies with and without potatoes from their organic gastronomy, live music and lots of hands-on activities.

Where? Domäne Dahlem, Königin-Luise-Straße 49, 14195 Berlin
When? September 17 – September 18 2022 (10am-6pm)
Admission? €2,-

Picture Source: https://www.domaene-dahlem.de/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/DD_Kartoffelfest_Plakat-723×1024.jpg

Queerness in Photography Exhibition at C/O Berlin

If you ever find yourself at S+U Zoologischer Garten, it’s worth stopping by C/O Berlin, an exhibition space for photography and visual media. Located right next to Amerika-Haus on Hardenbergstraße, the nonprofit organization focuses on presenting works by respected artists as well as supporting emerging talents, and welcomes everyone to discover contemporary visual culture. As a place to exchange new ideas, C/O Berlin organizes Artist Talks, Panel Discussions, Film Screenings and guided tours, offering visitors a place to exchange thoughts on the exhibition program and engage in current debates on visual culture. Their upcoming exhibtion Queerness in Photography (Sep 17, 2022 – Jan 18, 2023) examines the representation of identity, gender, and sexuality in photography in three complementary exhibitions.

If you happen to find time during your first week here in Berlin, there’s two more amazing artists being exhibited at c/o until Sep 07, 2022.

Susan Meiselas

The exhibition Susan Meiselas . Mediations is the first retrospective in Germany of the Magnum photographer’s over 50-year oeuvre—from her early portraits of neighbors to intimate shots of strippers to her iconic photographs from crisis and war zones.

Bieke Depoorter

In her solo exhibition A Chance Encounter, Bieke Depoorter presents Agata and Michael, two series that begin with chance encounters. Personal relationships with the people featured in her photographs, which were developed over the course of several years, significantly influence Depoorter’s artistic practice.

When? September 17 - January 18, 2023.
Where? C/O Berlin, Hardenbergstraße 22-24, 10623 Berlin

Picture Sources: https://artviewer.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Paul-Mpagi-Sepuya-at-Document-6.jpg; https://curamagazine.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Darkroom-Mirror-_2050021-2017-archival-pigment-print-10×13-framed-dimensions-21×24-1.jpg; Pebbles with Enzo and Tina at the Carmine Street pool, Little Italy, New York, 1978 © Susan Meiselas . Magnum Photos; https://www.kulturausflandern.de/media/CACHE/images/22/03/Artikelbild_Bieke_Depoorter_Agata_Paris_November_2_2017/30f9f976423ee51814638d688d57ccd6.jpg

Berlin Art Week (Sep 14-Sep 18 2022)

Source: https://www.handelsblatt.com/images/galerie-koenig/25011532/2-format2020.jpg

As part of Berlin Art Week hundreds of galleries in Berlin will be presenting new artistic positions. This event has the intention to show how versatile Berlin’s art scene really is and how it always redefines itself. For the first time there will also be panel discussions with artists, collectors, gallery owners, museum directors and art lovers from all over the world. 

When? September 14 - September 18, 2022.
Where? At participating galleries all over Berlin.

Days of Jewish Culture

Each year the Jewish cultural festival presents a diverse potpourri of theatrical performances, readings, discussions, exhibitions, church services, and concerts featuring outstanding performers from around the world. This year’s theme is „Shalom Berlin“. Please find the program here.

When? November 7 - November 17, 2019
Where? Synagoge Rykestraße, Renaussance Theater, Jüdisches Gemeindehaus Fasanenstraße and more
Admission: depends on the venue

Virtual Berlin: Museums, Science and Literature

Germany is known as the land of poets and thinkers throughout the world. It can boast a rich heritage of literature, art and science that is still thriving today – with Berlin at its very center.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Altes_Museum%2C_Berlin_2012.jpg

Pergamon Museum:

Visiting a museum in Berlin without having to stand in line? Perfect! Many of Berlin’s museum are currently offering virtual tours via the Google Arts &  Culture App (for Android and iOS), for example the Pergamon Museum with its magnificant altar. The museum has developed a virtual tour that lets you discover their most famous attraction in amazing detail.

Freie Universität Berlin: Open Lecture Halls:

For more than 30 years, your very own FU Berlin has been holding public lectures over a broad range of topics – and now online as well! The lectures on diverse topics are free to all, offer dialog and discussion and you are always invited to participate. These public lectures cover for example body politics in feminist comics or multinational Sovjet literature in Berlin.  

Literaturhaus Berlin:

Do you want to dive into German literature? The Literaturhaus Berlin is a great place to start for opening a new chapter in mastering the German language. Their website offers many different online talks with authors, writers as well as an extensive archive of previous events.  

Museum für Naturkunde – #fürNatur digital:

The Museum für Naturkunde is Berlin’s largest natural history museum. Normally, you can admire dinosaur skeletons in the museum’s grand exhibition halls. But also during these times, you can discover the exibitions with more than 30 millions objects online, for instance by online guided tours or various podcast formats.

Virtual Berlin: Theater and Music

Berlin is Germany’s unrivalled center of all things theater and music. Even though the stages of theaters, operas and music venues remain closed for the time being, some of Berlin’s most famous artistic institutions have offered virtual alternatives until their doors finally open again.

Source: https://d24z4d3zypmncx.cloudfront.net/BlogPosts/top-mic-placement-tips-for-theater/images/top-mic-placement-tips-for-theater_header.jpg

Berliner Ensemble: BE at home:

The Berliner Ensemble, founded by none other than Bertolt Brecht, is one of Berlin’s and Germany’s top theater addresses. Their digital offers at “BE at home” include on demand recordings of panel discussions and lectures, audiowalks, podcasts, streams of historic Brecht-productions, backstage impressions… more than enough content to get you through these times!

Dringeblieben:

Dringeblieben is a collaboration of various cultural institutions across Germany bringing you streams and other digital formats directly to your home. Along with it: the Maxim-Gorki-Theater and the Deutsches Theater. No need to get lucky to get hold of theater tickets – you can just hit play!

Berliner Philharmoniker: Digital Concert Hall:

The Berliner Philharmoniker are one of the world’s best orchestras – and in their digital concert hall you can get a front row seat for free! The playlist includes various performances, conducted by the philharmonic’s chief conductor, Kirill Petrenko. Listen to pieces by van Beethoven, Mahler and Tschaikowsky as well as an interview with Petrenko.

Schaubühne Online:

The Schaubühne is the place to be in Berlin when it comes to contemporary theater. As they remain closed at least until Easter, they have launched Schaubühne Online. Every couple of days you can get free, exclusive access to recordings of plays by famed theater director Thomas Ostermeier, documentaries or panel discussions.

United We Stream:

Berlin’s clubs define the pulse of the city but were also hit hardest by the Corona crisis. “United We Stream“ aims to bring the clubs’ music and atmosphere into your home while supporting the clubs, artists and organizers at the same time. Discover different livestreams by world-renowned DJs from some of Berlin’s most legendary clubs, such as Watergate, Griessmühle or Sisyphos.

Visit a Collegium Musicum Concert

Collegium Musicum Berlin: Startseite
Source: https://www.collegium-musicum-berlin.de/_inhaltselemente/feature-slideshow/_slideshow-images/konzertmitschnitte.jpg?width=1300

The Collegium Musicum is a joint venture of Freie Universität and Technische Universität Berlin. Its ensemble consist of 450 students, professors, and and other university staff from different departments, who meet up regurlarly to make music together. Traditionally, they give a number of concerts towards the end of the German semester in February.

Chamber Choir Concert

The 35 members of the chamber choir perform a unique selection of a capella music – ranging from classics to works by Jaakko Mänyjärvi and Francis Poulenc.

When? February 7, 2020, 7 p.m.
Where? St.-Jacobi-Kirche Kreuzberg, Oranienstraße 132 (U8 Moritzplatz)
Admission: 5€

Philharmonic Orchestra

If you are a fan of classical music, this might be the perfect concert for you. The symphony orchestra and the Great Choir perform a number of classical pieces by Anton Bruckner, Felix Mendellsohn Bartholdy, and Francis Poulenc.

When? February 9, 2020, 8 p.m.
Where? Philharmonie Berlin, Herbert-von-Karajan-Str. 1 (S and U Potsdamer Platz)
Admission: 10€

Bigband Winterconcert

Don’t have plans for Valentine’s Day yet? How about an evening with the UniBigband Berlin, where you might just discover your love for jazz?

When? February 14 and 15, 2020, 8 p.m.
Where? Kunstfabrik Schlot, Invalidenstraße. 117 (U6 Naturkundemuseum)
Admission: 5€

You can find more information on their website: www.collegium-musicum-berlin.de

Visit Europe’s biggest Jewish cemetery

The Jewish Cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee was set up in 1880 by Berlin’s Jewish community. It covers around 42 hectars and thereby is the biggest Jewish cemetery in Europe that is still in good condition. Since the 1970’s it is under preservation orders.

If you have a sunny afternoon to spare this is a nice place for taking a walk (it can also be very pretty during the winter months, provided that there is snow). Although you obvisouly will be wandering a graveyard, I wouldn’t classify this as a very sad place; you are rather hit by a mystical and even kind of joyful (if you can call a graveyard joyful) tranquility. Big trees portrude from the grounds and create an enchanted atmosphere for the cemetery’s visitors.

Where? Herbert-Baum-Straße 45, 13088 Berlin Weißensee
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30am - 5pm, Friday 7:30am - 2:30pm, Sunday 8am-4pm, closed on Saturdays and Jewish public holidays.

Watch the trailer for the documentary about the cemetery here.