Tag Archives: video

Twentieth Century Berlin on Film – The 1950s

Berlin in the 1950s - East Berlin Parade 1950

Photo: Berlin in the 1950s – still from ‘East Berlin Parade 1950′

Throughout the 1950s the government of the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) continued a process of Socialisation in East Germany.  Tensions were running high between the East and West and also amongst the people of the DDR.  The ‘brain drain’ had started, as workers sought out the higher pay and better working conditions in the West.

East Berlin Parade 1950

The Freie Deutsche Jugend (FDJ) (Free German Youth) marching through East Berlin in 1950.

East Germany Propaganda – East Berlin 1950

There is more footage of the FDJ gathering in Berlin in 1950 with commentary (auf Deutsch) in this longer film.

DDR im Film XVII – Stalinallee (1951)

Set to the song Jugend erwach (Bau auf, bau auf), Part 17 of the series DDR – Das Original shows the construction of buildings on the Stalinallee, now Karl-Marx-Allee.

GDR Uprising (1953)

What started as a strike by construction workers in East Berlin the previous day turned into a full-scale uprising against the government of the DDR on 17 June 1953.  Workers were protesting against plans to increase working hours or cut pay and the policy of prioritising heavy industry that meant a shortage of consumer goods and power.

Sunday Documentary: Legendary Sin Cities – Berlin: Metropolis of Vice

Berlin - Metropolis of Vice (screenshot from the Legendary Sin Cities documentary)

Photo: Still from Legendary Sin Cities – Berlin – Metropolis of Vice

Metropolis of Vice, an episode from the Legendary Sin Cities documentary series focuses on the potent mix of sex and entertainment in the Weimar era Berlin of the 1920s.

“Its very name became synonymous with perversion, debauchery and creativity. Berlin in the 1920s was the sex capital of Europe.”

In response to the hyperinflation of the 1920s, driven by poverty, the sex trade in Berlin exploded as a means to put food on the table.

“Berlin was what sexual daydreams wanted to be.  You could find almost anything there and maybe everything.”

In this environment, performers such as Claire Waldoff, Anita Berber and Marlene Dietrich thrived and became stars.  Word of Berlin’s raucous nightlife and attitude of sexual freedom spread and drew more artists and creative people to the city.

I first posted this documentary on Facebook and Twitter 6 months ago before I began my Sunday Documentary series.

Legendary Sin Cities – Berlin: Metropolis of Vice

Twentieth Century Berlin on Film – The 1940s

Berlin 1949 (screenshot from Mr Attlee Visits Berlin)

Photo: Berlin 1949 – still from ‘Mr Attlee Visits Berlin’

Continuing my Twentieth Century Berlin on Film series, footage of 1940s Berlin is dominated by the machinations and effects of the Second World War.  At the beginning of the decade the city is a focal point for Nazi marches and speeches.  During the war, the German capital is a prime target for the allied bombers and afterwards a flashpoint at the beginning of the Cold War.

Berlin 1940

The soldiers of the German Wehrmacht march through Berlin in 1940.  The streets are lined with people and Nazi flags fly from the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) and may of the buildings on the parade route.

Berlin 1943

By 1943 Berlin is showing the scars of war.  Heavy bombing raids have taken their toll on the city.  Rescued furniture and belongings line the streets and Potsdamer Bahnhof is out of use – the scenes of devastation inside make it clear why.

Berlin – May 12, 1945

This colour footage from 1945 shows the utter devastation of Berlin.  Many buildings are now just shells and huge piles of rubble line the streets – the chain gangs of Trümmerfrauen (rubble women) work hard to clean up the city.

Mr Attlee Visits Berlin – 1949

British Prime Minister Clement Attlee visited Berlin in 1949 to see first hand how West Berliners were coping with the effects of the Berlin Blockade.  This short film from the archive collection of the Alexandra Palace Television Society follows that visit.

Twentieth Century Berlin on Film – The 1930s

Berlin in the 1930s (Man drinking beer - screenshot from Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936)

Photo: Still from ‘Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936′

Berlin in the 1930s was witness to Hitler’s rise to power as Chancellor of Germany and subsequently many shockingly destructive and despicable acts like the book burning of 1933 and the Kristallnacht in 1938.  Continuing my Twentieth Century Berlin on Film series here are a few short videos that show Berlin in the 1930s.

Summer Holidays in Berlin (1930)

Despite the political changes and the economic difficulties in the country it is important to remember that it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Berlin.  In this clip, Berliners head out to enjoy the sunshine at the Wannsee.

Büchverbrennung (Book Burning) 1933

This clip from a documentary by the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum) shows the book burning at the Opernplatz (now Bebelplatz) in Berlin.

Goebbels denounces the authors of ‘un-German’ books as soldiers and students throw thousands of volumes onto a large bonfire.  Today a simple monument of empty shelves commemorates the events of 10 May 1933.

Alt-Berlin: Berlin – Wie es war

Alt-Berlin: Berlin – Wie es war (Old Berlin:Berlin – How it was) follows a horse and cart tour around the city with lots of information about the buildings and statues and life in Berlin in German.

Jesse Owens – 1936 Olympics

Given Hitler’s conviction of the superiority of the Aryan Race it is ironic that Jesse Owens was the star of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936

A Nazi propaganda film, Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936 showcases Berlin and it’s many landmark buildings in colour – some no longer stand like the Stadtschloss and others like the Berliner Dom and Reichstag have undergone changes.

Twentieth Century Berlin on Film – The 1920s

Berlin in 1929 (screenshot from People on Sunday)

Photo: Berlin in 1929 – still from ‘People on Sunday’

The twentieth century was not kind to Berlin – war, economic depression, Nazism, division and re-unification all left their mark.

Twentieth Century Berlin on Film is a series of posts that, through YouTube videos, will show the changes the city has undergone.

We begin with the heady days of Berlin in the 1920s – in the Weimar era, the city had a reputation for decadence, hedonism and sexual freedom.  Despite, or perhaps as a result of, the effects of hyperinflation and political upheaval in the aftermath of the Great War, Berliners were determined to have a good time.

1920s – Berlin in der 20er Jahre (Berlin the 1920s)

A collection of clips showing everyday life in the German capital throughout the 1920s.

Tour Around Berlin in 1929

Taken from the Billy Wilder film People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag), which you can find in full on Mogli Oak.

Berlin – Die Sinfonie der Großstadt (1927) (Berlin – Symphony of a Great City)

If you have a little more time I would recommend watching Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, a full-length silent film by director Walther Ruttmann.  Filmed over the course of a year in Berlin, the footage has been assembled in five acts representing a typical day in the city.

Art in Berlin – A report by Monocle Magazine

Art in Berlin (screenshot from Monocle report)

Photo: Still from ‘Art in Berlin’ Monocle report

It’s Gallery Weekend in Berlin – a time when the city’s many galleries showcase art from a broad range of local and international talent – so when better to share this film from Monocle magazine on Art in Berlin.

Berlin is a hotbed of creative talent.

In the 1920s, artists were attracted by the city’s hedonistic nightlife and attitude of acceptance.  During the cold war more still took advantage of the opportunity to avoid conscription by moving to West Berlin.  And after the fall of the wall, cheap rents and the availability of empty buildings for squatting meant artists could survive more easily here.

In this report for Monocle, Kimberly Bradley looks at how the art scene in Berlin is developing and maturing and how the city has a growing reputation as a destination for international gallerists and collectors.

Monocle – Art in Berlin

via: Berlin Film Society // Monocle

Berlin Songs: Sex Pistols – Holidays in the Sun

Sex Pistols - Holidays in the Sun (official promotional poster)

My Berlin Songs series, which features songs that are either inspired by Berlin, about the city or by artists based here, continues with Sex Pistols – Holidays in the Sun.

Singer John Lydon says of the song on the Sex Pistols website:

“I loved Berlin. I loved the wall and the insanity of the place. The communists looked in on the circus atmosphere of West Berlin, which never went to sleep, and that would be their impression of the West.”

Thanks to Gilly for sending me a link to this great video of Thierry Noir in Berlin in 1985 (including footage of him painting the Berlin Wall along the Bethaniendamm in Kreuzberg with Christophe Bouchet) that features the song.

Thierry Noir is a French Street Artist whose work features at the East Side Gallery next to a section removed by developers in a move that inspired protests and brought David Hasselhoff back to Berlin.

Thierry Noir paintings at the East Side Gallery Berlin

Holidays in the Sun is the opening track on the Sex Pistols only studio album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols.

Sex Pistols – Holidays in the Sun

Sunday Documentary: Cold War – Berlin 1948 – 1949

The Berlin Airlift (screenshot from the documentary Cold War - Berlin 1948-1949)

Part 4 of the fascinating and extensive Cold War documentary series by the Cold War International History Project, Berlin 1948 – 1949, deals with the response of the Western Allies to the Soviet Blockade of Berlin – the Berlin Airlift (Die Luftbrücke).

Surrounded as it was by East Germany, West Berlin was dependent on a corridor through the East with a single Autobahn and one railway line for its supplies.  Following a breakdown in the democratic process between the four conquering powers in June 1948, the Soviets exploited this weakness, blocking the road and rail routes in an attempt to force Britain, America and France out of Berlin.

Much to Stalin’s surprise, the Western Allies sustained the population of West Berlin by flying in the necessary supplies of food and coal.

At the height of the operation planes landed every 45 seconds at Tempelhof Airport and in the 11 months of the airlift more than 2.3 million tonnes of goods and fuel were flown in by almost 278,000 flights.

In May 1949, recognising the success of the Berlin Airlift, the Soviet blockade was lifted but of course the Cold War would escalate and continue for many years.

Cold War – Berlin 1948 – 1949

Berlin Songs: Peter Fox – Schwarz zu Blau

Peter Fox - Schwarz zu Blau (screenshot from Official Video)

Photo: Still from ‘Peter Fox – Schwarz zu Blau’

It won’t have escaped anyone’s attention in Berlin that what may have seemed like an endless winter could finally be over.  Temperatures have leapt from single digits to nudge the Mercury at 20ºC so it seemed appropriate then that the second instalment in my Berlin Songs series should be Peter Fox – Schwarz zu Blau.

I’m a Berlin enthusiast so I will love the city come rain or shine but it’s so much easier to love when the sun is out.  As soon as temperatures climbed into double figures Berliners sat outside cafés and bars and there was a buzz about the place again.  The seemingly solar-powered beautiful people emerged from their winter hibernations and the streets rang with the sound of bicycle bells.

Schwarz zu Blau tells the story of a man noticing some of Berlin’s less pleasant aspects as he drunkenly stumbles out of a club at 5:30 in the morning and walks home as the city changes from black to blue.

Despite the ugliness he has noted though, his true feelings for the city emerge in the last lines:

Doch die Sonne geht gerade auf

Und ich weiß, ob ich will oder nicht

dass ich dich zum Atmen brauch (brauch, brauch, brauch…)

Which with my poor German skills I would translate as:

But the sun is just rising

And I know, whether I like it or not

That I need you to breathe (need, need, need…)

Peter Fox is a member of the successful Berlin band Seeed but Schwarz zu Blau is taken from his 2007 solo album Stadtaffe (English translation – Urban Ape).

Peter Fox – Schwarz zu Blau

Berlin Songs: Robots In Disguise – I Live In Berlin

Robots In Disguise - I Live In Berlin (screenshot from the video by electroxbooshxgirl on YouTube)

Photo: Still from ‘Robots In Disguise – I Live In Berlin’

I’ve been thinking about posting Berlin Songs for a while now and hearing Robots In Disguise – I Live In Berlin last night has prompted me to get on and do it.

The songs may be about Berlin, from Berlin artists, recorded in Berlin or in some other way associated with Berlin.  I have a pretty long list already thanks to Bine but if you have any favourites let me know in the comments.

According to the bio on their website:

ROBOTS IN DISGUISE are fronted by DEE PLUME (guitar and vocals) and SUE DENIM (bass and vocals). Part riot grrl princesses, part monsters of DIY musical mayhem, this maverick electro-indie-rock-dance duo has a reputation for fashion-forward style and energetic shows where Dee’s guitar and Sue’s grooving bass lines dance over chunky electronic beats and tell-it-like-it-is lyrics.

Take another look at their names and you’ll see that the pair are no strangers to the nuances of comedy.  The eagle-eyed amongst you might recognise Robots In Disguise as The Electro Girls and The Goth Girls in The Mighty Boosh.

I Live In Berlin is taken from the third Robots In Disguise studio album, We’re In The Music Biz.

Robots In Disguise – I Live In Berlin