For years avant-garde and independently minded filmmakers have made Berlin their home, and the city has become not only the international face of the film industry in Germany but also a character in many films.

Larry Kardish on German Cinema

The Curator of the Film Department at MoMA answers the question, “Is Berlin the center of filmmaking in Germany today?”

There is a lot of film activity going on in Germany, and Berlin is just one of the centers … Don’t forget we’re still dealing with the legacy of a divided Germany, and of a city, Berlin, in which there was not much filmmaking activity … at least in the West. It was the capital of East German filmmaking, because the major studio was located in East Berlin in the German Democratic Republic.

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Ruttmann’s and Meisel’s Berlin-Symphony

By Lothar Prox

The premiere of Walther Ruttmann’s masterpiece with live music by Edmund Meisel took place in Berlin’s Tauentzin Palast cinema on September 23, 1927. The composer conducted a 75-piece orchestra whose composition and positioning in the room indicated the filmmakers’ unusual intentions. In fact Ruttmann and Meisel wanted a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk (total art work) with new effects. Both artists were obsessed by the idea of using the suggestive association of sound and image, together with changing tempi and rhythms to do aesthetic justice to the phenomenon of “Berlin” and to express the essence of the uniquely vital and sensual presence of the metropolis.

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Clip from the 1927 silent film, Berlin: Symphony of a City, directed by Walther Ruttman.

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