"Our taverns and our metropolitan streets, our offices and furnished rooms, our railroad stations and our factories appeared to have us locked up hopelessly. Then came the film and burst this prison world asunder." —Walter Benjamin
The topographical Berlin, which one can journey to by train or plane, was born in the 12th century. The celluloid Berlin, which one also buys a ticket for but takes a different kind of trip to, materialized much later, towards the end of the 19th century. The silver screen immediately became a site of living memory for the city, as well as a means by which to project into future.
The “birth” of the celluloid Berlin took place on a rooftop above the Schönhauser Allee, when the inventors of German cinema, the Skladanowski brothers, captured Berlin’s skyline. Only a few of those frames remain, ghostly and fading. Provoked by these images, we will explore some of the best examples of Berlin on film.