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April 22 - 23

The New Berlin: Four Films

Almost twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Berlin is booming, becoming what a lot of Berliners and others always wanted it to be: a cultural metropolis equal to its neighbors Paris, London, and Rome.  Once a mecca for the arts, Berlin was devastated by WWII, and its special status and geographical isolation during the Cold War put in a state of crisis.  However on the Western side of the Wall subcultures blossomed and an alternative scene evolved.  When the wall came down, Berlin was ready to reinvent itself: spectacular developments in urban renewal and in the art scene began to take place all over the city.  The Goethe-Institut Boston’s celebration of the new Berlin includes visits and events highlighting the acclaimed young artists, poets, musicians, and filmmakers who have contributed to the city’s evolution into the dynamic and creative capital it is today.  The Harvard Film Archive is delighted to participate in this exploration of present-day Berlin by presenting this program of films focusing on the youthful spirit and gritty truths of contemporary urban life in the new Berlin.

This program is co-presented with the Goethe Institut Boston. All prints courtesy of the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes.

April 22 (Sunday) 7 pm

Berlin Babylon

Directed by Hubertus Siegert
Germany 2001, 35mm, color, 88 min.
German with English subtitles

After the wall came down a radical reconstruction of the city core was undertaken in an orgy of drama of real estate, money and power.  Berlin Babylon observes prominent architects, developers, politicians and urban planners at work as first time director Hubertus Siegert “visually ponders the nature of a cityscape and its more or less permanent state of collapse and rehabilitation” (Michael Atkinson).

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April 22 (Sunday) 8:45 pm

Tough Enough (Knallhart)

Directed by Detlev Buck
Germany 2006, 35mm, color, 98 min.
With David Kross, Jenny Elvers-Elbertzhagen, Ehran Emre
German with English subtitles

Well-known German actor-director Detlev Buck departs from the
comic tone of his early films in this story of fifteen-year-old Michael, who moves into the gritty Neukölln district, a rough ethnic Berlin neighborhood.  Worlds away from the posh suburbs he’s used to, Michael undergoes beatings and extortion by a gang of violent bullies.  Buck shot on location, giving a restless street style to his portrayal of an area with significant immigrant communities from countries including Turkey, Russia, Serbia, Thailand and China.

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April 23 (Monday) 7 pm

Summer in Berlin

Directed by Andreas Dresen
Germany 2005, 35mm, color, 105 min.
With Inka Friedrich, Nadja Uhl, Andreas Schmidt
German with English subtitles

Summer in Berlin is the story of two girlfriends who spend the evenings during a heat wave on their balconies, sharing their dreams.  Andreas Dresen, who made his breakthrough with 2002’s acclaimed Dogme-styled drama Grill Point, describes his socially precise portrayal of geriatric nurse Nike and unemployed Katrin as a "cheerful film about loneliness."  Dresen’s portrait of daily life in Berlin’s quickly gentrifying Prenzlauer Berg district is treated with warmth and humor.

April 23 (Monday) 9:15 pm

Night Shapes

Directed by Andreas Dresen
Germany 1999, 35mm, color, 101 min.
With Dominique Horwitz, Meriam Abbas, Michael Gwisdek
German with English subtitles

In Dresen’s earlier slice-of-life look at Berlin, a visit from the Pope
provides the backdrop for an exploration of a disparate group of Berliners. The down-and-out, the rich and the poor, the polizei, the street kids and the taxi drivers—all are in search of a little bit of happiness as they make their way through the maze of the big city.

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