For DW's series on the best in German cinema, we pick our favorite films set in the capital city, the backdrop for the tumultuous history of the 20th century. In each of these films, Berlin is one of the main characters.
For the latest edition in our KINO Favorites series, we turn the spotlight on the city of Berlin and our favorite films set in Germany's once and current capital.
Berlin is a screenwriter's dream. Few places have seen as much political and social upheaval. Arguably none have been at the center of so many events that shaped the modern world.
Berlin is where modern, liberal Europe first came together in the roaring 20s and where it was torn apart by Hitler and the Nazis. It was ground zero for the Cold War and it's where the concrete curtain dividing East and West was finally smashed. Berlin now is the epicenter of cool for Europe's young people but its history still casts a dark shadow.
In short, it's the ultimate backlot for stories where the personal butts up against the political, where a character's individual choices can have far-reaching consequences.
In picking our 10 favorite Berlin films, we set ourselves some strict rules. We wanted movies depicting every modern era in the city - from the 1920s through the Cold War to reunification and the Berlin of today. We also picked films where the city is one of the main characters. These are stories that could only happen here.
It's a political place, so there are some political films, and we don't skim over the uglier chapters in Berlin's story. But we also picked comedies and private dramas, stories that show what life is really like in Kreuzberg, Mitte or Prenzlauer Berg. Films whose heroes, above all, are ordinary Berliners whose sardonic humor and melancholy resilience has seen them through all the upheaval and chaos, the destruction and horror, that the 20th century rained down upon this city.
This is a very personal list. You might not agree with our choices. But love letters are always personal. And this is our cinematic love letter to Berlin.