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Out Of The Rubble: Berlin On Film

Festival of the Future City

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For much of the 20th century Berlin was a troubled city. Following the First World War and the declaration of the Weimar Republic, Berlin was the home of Weimar culture, vibrant, cosmopolitan and left-wing but also the place of riots and political turmoil. It was the capital of Germany during the Nazi period and then destroyed in the Second World War.

After 1945 Germany and Berlin was split and the building of the Berlin Wall cemented this until 1989 when the Velvet Revolutions that year saw the defeat of Communism, the start of reunification and the restoration of the city as the capital.

Out of the Rubble: Berlin On Film looks at this history through film. The rubble films – and rubble literature – were the attempts by Germans to come to terms with the defeat of their country, their cities and their ideals in the years after 1945. This season looks at coming out of the ‘rubble’ of Berlin through the whole century – from the exhaustion after the First World War to the dying days of the wall – and includes some of the finest films ever made.

The portrayal of Berlin in the 1920s with The Last Laugh and Asphalt; the devastated post-Second war Berlin as seen by the outsider Roberto Rossellini in Germany, Year Zero; Wim Wenders’ ‘city symphony’ Wings of Desire – made just two years before the wall came down; and Berlin Alexanderplatz, Fassbinder’s humane and cynical masterpiece about trying to be an honest soul in the tragedy of late Weimar Berlin.

This series is part of Bristol Ideas’ 2023 Festival of the Future City.

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