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Culture

Berlin, Symphony of a Great New City

Contemporary film producer Thomas Schadt is working on a new film on today's Berlin. Despite similarities to the 20s silent classic, "Berlin, Symphony of a city", Schadt's film is no remake.

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Yet another unusual image of Berlin

Thomas Schadt and his assistant have been hard at work in the Germany's capital for almost a year now. The two are making a film on Berlin.

Despite Schadt's fascination for the famous Berlin film classic, "Berlin, Symphony of a great city", the film producer does not regard his project as a remake of the former, but as his own tribute to today's Berlin.

But Schadt's film does resemble Ruttman's silent masterpiece in certain aspects:

"What we have taken from Walther Ruttmann's film is the fact that we're shooting in black and white on 35mm film," film director Thomas Schadt says. As well as the fact that he too, is recounting a day in the life of Berlin.

The power of montage

Ruttmann did not intend to create a realistic portrait of the city in 1927. The power of his images comes from his clever montage technique, which conveys a sense of movement and speed.

"In terms of content, Ruttmann - in a very visionary manner - came up with an image of a city in which he said: here, take a look, this is the pulse of a city, this is what a metropolis will look like. And what I think we're doing, what I hope the film will finally say is: take a look at this Walther - this is how your vision turned out," Schadt says.

No glossy post-card clichés

Schadt's film shows images that represent Berlin's recent history, such as the painted remains of the Berlin Wall, known as the East Side Gallery.

But the film also includes historical landmarks in the heart of the city. However Schadt hopes to avoid the so typical glossy picture post-card clichés of Berlin.

Thomas Schadt is always on the look out for unusual images. A glimpse behind the scenes and pictures of day-to-day life are both important elements in his work: Whether images of people at work in a BMW factory or of the bustling atmosphere at one of the city's many flea markets, Schadt attempts to capture the life behind the surface.

Half of the shots, he says, are planned but part of the film team's intention is to put aside enough time to also react spontaneously to things that are unexpected – "real poetry" for Schadt.