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Cinemas in Berlin: celebrity glamour and nostalgia

Kino© Izabela Habur, istockphoto

Berlin has Germany’s highest concentration of cinemas with about 280 screens in 100 cinemas. In addition to the many multiplex theaters showing the latest blockbusters, there are lots of independent art house theaters catering to more demanding movie buffs. One example is the Arsenal at Pots­damer Platz, which has been run by the Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek (Friends of German Cinema) for more than 30 years. The Arsenal has special screenings as well as retrospectives and experimental movies from many differ­ent countries in their original language. The Filmkunsthaus Babylon Mitte also focuses on non-mainstream movies and has retro­spective programs. Independent theaters such as the beautiful Delphi Filmpalast and Broadway in Charlottenburg have combined to form the Yorck Kino Gruppe, consisting of 12 cinemas. The Odeon in Schöneberg and the Babylon in Kreuzberg are members of this group and often show original language versions of contemporary films.

Stage capital Berlin

GZW 2 IMG 0060 800x600Schlossparktheater

Berlin is Germany’s theater capital. The playwrights Haupt­­mann, Ibsen, Strindberg and Brecht became famous here. More than 50 theaters offer culture fans a varied program from aesthetic realism to experimental pop art. Some 28 Berlin theaters are state-funded and the others are in private hands. There are also many fringe theaters and independent theater groups, which usually don’t have a fixed venue. The Deutsches Theater was founded in 1883 and has been Berlin’s most important theater ever since. Famous theatrical personalities such as Ernst Busch, Max Reinhardt, Gisela May and Bertolt Brecht have shaped this institution. The Berlin Ensemble, founded by Brecht in 1949, has a very good reputation, mainly due to its productions of the dramatist Heiner Müller, who died in 1995.

Berlin’s museum scene: Still life in motion

BodeMuseumBode Museum

Together with Munich and Dresden, Berlin is one of the largest museum areas in Germany. Here there are more museums and collections than rainy days in a year; in total more than 175. With the open­ing – or rather, re-opening after renovation – of 27 museums in the last 10 years, the capital is establishing itself as one of the most important cultur­al centers in Europe. And the program has not finished; the best example is the unique museum island in the center of Berlin, which has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999. Here, in just one square kilometer, visitors can experience 6,000 years of human history with highlights such as the Pergamon Altar and busts of Nefertiti. After the re-opening of the Bode Museum in October 2006, you can currently visit 4 of the 5 historical buildings on the island. The Neues Museum is scheduled to be open to the public from 2009. The number of visitors is already at 2 million per year; by the end of the general renovation program in 2015, it is hoped that this figure will increase significantly.

Beastly and biting: the new Berlin musicals

GZW 2 IMG 0060 800x600Bluemax, Blue Man Group

Charismatic figures of the night, menacing flashing teeth, and blood - in December 2006, Roman Polanski’s musical “Dance of the Vampires” cele-brated its premiere in the Theater des Westens. The musical, which is a parody of the vampire genre, tells the story of vampire hunter Professor Abronsius and his young assistant Alfred, who meet the vampire Count von Krolock in a village in Transylvania. Rocky, sentimental ballads by Jim Steinman, furious dance scenes and – last but not least – the snappy text from Michael Kunze make the musical a scary and incredible delight. A complete contrast to this is the Disney musical “Beauty and the Beast”, which can be seen from March 2007 in the Musical Thea­ter on Potsdamer Platz. This is the romantic love story of the beautiful Belle and a prince who was turned into an ugly beast by a witch. Only the love of another person can save him. 


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