One of the best things to do in Berlin in summer is to enjoy a great film en plain air. Luckily, we don’t only have a great variety of open air cinemas that screen original versions, but the locations are pretty amazing as well. Try the Freiluftkino Kreuzberg at Mariannenplatz for example, or enjoy a movie night in the park, surrounded by nature at Freiluftkino Hasenheide. The cutest and most urban of them all is the backyard cinema at the not-yet-gentrified Schwarzenberg Höfe in the middle of the posh Hackesche Höfe area. Here, Stil in Berlin‘s godchild, the Berlin Art Film Festival, launches its summer open air program with a pretty rad selection of daring Berlin films with English subtitles for five Fridays in a row. Plus, many of the filmmakers will come by for talks after the screenings.
The magic begins this Friday (July 7) with the rarely screened Berlin drifter film The Dancer by directing duo Ute Schall and Christine Groß. Real life dancer Jean Chaize, who studied ballet in Cannes and Montpellier and later worked on many theatre stages in Berlin, plays an unemployed but optimistic, senior dancer who decides to pretend he is still in business. Dressed in a dapper suit and equipped with a bike and the charm of a small-time crook, he floats through the city from one unplanned encounter to the next. The Dancer breathes an air of effortlessness and savoir vivre that is both extremely charming and great to enjoy as a movie treat under the Berlin sky after a long week. Both directors will be present.
One week later (July 14), Ute Schall and Christine Groß’ hilarious feature debut The Tragic Life of Gloria S. will introduce you to the fictitious Berlin filmmaker Charlotte Weiß who is fed up with her own fiction films and decides to go for the real thing: a documentary about an unemployed Berlin woman. The bleaker the better she thinks, and a little later, her and her film team enter the small apartment of Gloria S. to film her sad and hopeless daily routines. What Charlotte doesn’t know: Gloria is actually an unemployed actress pretending to be a welfare case – a strategy that works at first until things get more and more absurd. Ute Schall and lead actress Nina Kronjäger will join the screening.
On July 21, we are thrilled to present Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog, the feature film debut of DFFB-student Julian Radlmaier whose previous films we have shown at sold-out screenings before. In this both beautiful, artsy and comically weird tale, Radlmaier plays film director Julian whose latest project doesn’t get funding. He meets an American woman (Camille) and to impress her, pretends that the apple plantation the job center sends him to is actually a place of research for his next film. Before his cover is blown and his efforts to court Camille prove futile, the workers on the plantation start a Communist revolution against the owner, until, well, a monk enters the stage and the journey continues in Italy. A darling of this year’s Berlinale, Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog is a one-of-its-kind beauty that will make you laugh and hopefully discuss – Julian Radlmaier will be there to answer your questions.
A week later (July 28), we will take you on a both enlightening, touching and pretty entertaining documentary journey through the history of gay West Berlin: My Wonderful West Berlin. Jochen Hick, a superb expert when it comes to queer documentary cinema, gathers an illustrious gang of charming and frank gay activist pioneers to give us insights into the sometimes tumultuous and often exciting gay times in the divided city, starting with illegal parties in the post-war ruins until the legalisation of homosexuality and the years before the final reunification. We meet curators, filmmakers, publishers, hair dressers and other stars on screen and get the chance to discuss the film and gay history with director Jochen Hick in person afterwards.
Finally (August 4), we team up with CIMA Berlin, a wonderful new cinema project that shows queer Berlin films with English subtitles and live Arabic translations for everyone who wants to learn more about (queer) Berlin – refugees (for whom the entrance is free) and the rest of us. With Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years, we are presenting a sublime documentary film by Dagmar Schultz about her long-term friend, the fierce queer Black rights activist Audre Lorde who spend a good amount of her time in Berlin and helped a great deal to get the German Black rights movements going. Everyone should have learned about that at school, but unfortunately, no one did. Lucky us that Schultz made a very personal and extremely informative documentary which brings us back to a very different Berlin and uses a lot of private footage to show us a beautiful mind and her friends whose fights are far from over. Both Dagmar Schultz and protagonist and Black Rights activist Ika Hügel-Marshall will be present!
Berlin Art Film Festival goes Open Air!
July 4/ 7/ 14/ 21/ 28 and August 4 2017
Open Air Cinema Mitte at Kino Central
Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178 Berlin
U Weinmeisterstraße, S Hackescher Markt
Find all events and infos on the Facebook page of the Berlin Art Film Festival.