The Best of Berlin on Netflix Germany

by James Glazebrook

Netflix Germany

Netflix may have had a rough start in Germany, with immediate charges of sexism not exactly endearing it to the country’s progressive thinkers, but there’s no denying the online streaming service’s impressive archive. Alongside original content like House of Cards and BoJack Horseman, there’s TV, documentaries and movies offered in a combination of English and German audio and Deutsch subtitles, including a few features about Berlin itself. So sign up, tune in, and check out our best of Berlin on Netflix Germany. In no particular order…

1) The Edukators 

Screened at a one-off überlin film night, “The Edukators” (German title, ”Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei” - “the fat years are over”) is the perfect expression of Berlin’s revolutionary impulses. A young Daniel Brühl and his anti-capitalist cohorts spend their nights breaking into fat cats’ Zehlendorf homes, until events take them on an unexpected journey out of the city. By turns acid sharp, thought-provoking and romantic, this is a German thriller well worth watching.

Netflix link
Audio: German
Subtitles: German [CC]

2) Berlin Calling 

“It’s all gone Pete Tong”, done right. This vehicle for BPitch Control’s Paul Kalkbrenner follows the rise and fall of DJ Ickarus, through sets in (real) Berlin clubs, international dates, drug psychosis and, ultimately, the loony bin. Surprisingly authentic, and by turns funny and touching, “Berlin Calling” is a must-see for fans of the city’s electronic music scene.

Netflix link
Audio: German
Subtitles: German [CC]

3) Sonnenallee

You’ll hardly recognise the eponymous street in this careful reconstruction of life on 1970s Sonnenallee. This comedy highlights the absurd reality of growing up alongside the wall that divides the city, right next to a border crossing between East and West Berlin. An entertaining and human reimagining of East Berlin’s past, set to the soundtrack of banned Western pop music.

Netflix link
Audio: German
Subtitles: German [CC]

4) Herr Lehmann

We haven’t seen this yet, but it comes highly recommended. Set in the final weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall, in the titular character’s beloved SO 36 neighbourhood, “Herr Lehmann” looks to be funny, irreverent and charming. Also, props for using Fad Gadget’s Berlin-recorded classic, “Collapsing New People”, on the trailer!

Netflix link
Audio: German
Subtitles: German [CC]

5) Fuck for Forest – trailer NSFW!

Token English language film alert! This arresting documentary tracks the efforts of the world’s first eco-porn organisation, which moved from Norway after its founders where tried for having sex in public, to (where else?) Berlin. A curious, and at times cringe-inducing, watch, “Fuck for Forest” captures the chaos of well-meaning activists’ questionable attempts to further their singular cause. Only in Berlin?

Netflix link
Audio: English
Subtitles: German

What about you? What Berlin-based movies would you like to see in Netflix Germany?

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Tech Open Air 2014

by James Glazebrook

TOA Berlin 2013 Day 1 - Dan Taylor - Heisenberg Media, used with permission

TOA Berlin 2013 Day 1 – Dan Taylor – Heisenberg Media, used with permission

Tech Open Air Berlin is back! We’ve partnered with the TOA team to bring you this year’s edition of the most quintessentially Berlin “unconference”, as official community partners. Why? Because we share Tech Open Air’s mission, “to connect, grow, and inspire the human spirit through knowledge exchange and collaboration”, especially since we’ve opened up our own collaborative coworking space.

Also, TOA 2014 is going to be cool as hell. Staged at the quirky location of Alte Teppichfabrik, just down the road from Zur wilden Renate, Tech Open Air presents two days of inspirational story telling, interactive panels, knowshops, pillowtalks, art installations, live music and much more, with guests from SXSW, IndieGoGo, AKQA and TechCrunch.

Sounds too good to miss? Then don’t! Pick up your tickets for Tech Open Air 2014 here, and we’ll see you at this awesome event!

Tech Open Air Berlin 2013 - Day 1 (Ronni Shendar), used with permission

Tech Open Air Berlin 2013 – Day 1 (Ronni Shendar), used with permission

Tech Open Air Berlin 2013 - Day 1 (Ronni Shendar), used with permission

Tech Open Air Berlin 2013 – Day 1 (Ronni Shendar), used with permission

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Berlin on Film

by Zoë Noble

There is something so special about shooting on film. I used to tell people that was bullshit before I got my first analogue camera at Christmas, but now I take it all back!

The look is so unique and although there are loads of filters out there that can take your digital photos in the direction of a film photo, they just don’t cut it. But more than the look, I love the whole process of shooting on film. You have to really slow down and consider the shot before you take it. With digital you can just shoot and shoot and delete later, but this can mean you’re not as invested in each shot. With film you have to nail the exposure and compose the picture correctly, because every shot costs you money!

I wish I’d picked up an analogue camera sooner and I urge anyone who’s serious about photography to get one. It’s a steep learning curve but it’s absolutely worth it!

berlin water shimmer bokeh

berlin building man at window in film fuji

bokeh closeup lights fuji400 film

berlin flats skyline

fuji400 film colour blocks

berlin fernsehturm skyline warschauer

berlin reflection on ground

tempelhof in winter

tempelhof fire hydrant

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Berlin’s most iconic photo? Vote now!

by Zoë Noble

We need your help! For our new coworking space, we want to get some of my Berlin photos printed up really huge for the walls. Below are the options we’ve whittled it down to and we reckon we need to choose three finalists. So let us know in the comments – which is your favourite Berlin photo?

1. Reflection
berlin flats reflection in puddle

2. Tempelhof
uberlin tempelhof sunset

3. Fernsehturm
uberlin tv tower fernsehturm

4. Sachsenhausen
uberlin Sachsenhausen Barbed Wire

5. Spreepark Cat
berlin spreepark cloeup

6. Spreepark Plane
berlin spreepark and flying plane

PS can you recommend a place where we can get good, reasonably-priced prints? Let us know!

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Olympus OM-D: Photography Playground 2014

by James Glazebrook

Olympus Photography Playground Visitor

The Olympus OM-D: Photography Playground is back! Compared to last year’s edition (see our review here), the new Playground is less edgy and more family-friendly, which is either good or bad news, depending on whether you have or hate kids. The exceptions are three exhibitions in stark monochrome that use light, sound and material to fantastic effect – whether by creating an HR Giger-esque organic/industrial sculpture, or a sonic strobe-scape with as much impact as Amon Tobin’s 3D live show.

My personal highlight was local artist Clemens Behr’s fragile, fractured installation, pieced together with the materials of the Opernwerkstätten site – a thoughtful work of impressive scale. We totally recommend a (free!) visit, at a time when the place is less likely to be crowded, when you can spend all the time you like immersed in disorientating, photogenic installations. Click here to get all the details.

[Edit: if you want to borrow a free Olympus camera, don't forget to take your passport and Anmeldebestätigung!]

Olympus Photography Playground Hanging Webs

Olympus Photography Playground Webs

Olympus Photography Playground Visitor Taking Photo

Olympus Photography Playground Lens Flare Exhibition

Olympus Photography Playground Light Beams and People

Olympus Photography Playground Light Beams

Olympus Photography Playground Exhibition

Olympus Photography Playground Zoë Noble Portrait Selfie

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Berlin in Second Life

by James Glazebrook

Remember Second Life? Of course you don’t! I was watching a feature-length documentary about the super-immersive virtual world and I wondered, of all the places and people and lives that have been created there, if anyone’s bothered to make a version of Berlin. Turns out they have, and it’s imaginatively named newBerlin.

Here’s a showreel, inexplicably soundtracked by the Dallas theme tune. Look out for Alex, the Fernsehturm, the Berlin Wall, and – naturally – a gross purple-breasted lady monster…

…and the “trashy trailer”!

Here’s a fashion show that marked the opening of the virtual version of Alexa, which is at least as classy as anything that’s ever happened in the real-life mall…

…the newBerlin Art Festival 2008 “fire girls”, who may just blow your mind….

…there’s even a virtual Christopher Street Day celebration!

Think that’s weird? Check out Star Trek’s version of New Berlin!

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Alberto Madrigal: A real job

by James Glazebrook

Alberto Madrigal Berlin cityscapeOne for our Spanish and Italian readers and all lovers of beautiful illustration. “Un lavoro vero” (A real job) is the tale of Javi, an unpublished comic artist who moves from Spain to Berlin to follow his dreams. Family and friends keep telling him to drop it and look for a real job, but he has no answer for them, because he hasn’t drawn anything for months. Created by Berlin-based Spaniard Alberto Madrigal, this is a very personal story, yet one that will ring true with anyone living an expat life here in Berlin. I’ve had a sneak peek at an English version, which will hopefully be out to buy in the future, but ”Un lavoro vero” is already available in Italian by Bao Publishing and will be published in Spanish in December. Follow Alberto on Tumblr to find out when “A real job” is available in your language.

Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero cover
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero boarding plane
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero TV tower
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero Wohnung
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero Wohnung 2
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero Wohnung 3
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero winter

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BERG: a soundscape for Berlin

by James Glazebrook

The video that originally inspired the new iPhone app BERG, a sound collage combining elements from classic espionage and Cold War movies laid over a series of panning shots describing the architecture of Teufelsberg listening station:

BERG is a site specific sound art project and a GPS-triggered soundscape for iPhone designed for Teufelsberg, a man-made hill and an abandoned National Security Agency listening station in Grunewald forest, in the former West Berlin. The app contains an archive of manipulated audio samples. As the user walks through Grunewald, the iPhone’s GPS activates a series of overlapping tracks, radio broadcasts, spoken word, manipulated field recordings, inspired by Cold War espionage, short wave frequencies and classic cinema. While the user moves in and out of the “sound clouds” – marked on the map by circular graphic elements – the tracks are overlaid and mixed according to his location, as detected by the GPS. The user’s perception of an architectural relic, with a mysterious history and surrounding landscape, is mediated by a semi-fictional, cinematic soundtrack mixed in real time. 

Through the localization of an audio path, the application plunges the user into an evocative and estranging experience of the urban space.

Get BERG for iPhone here.

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Epic collages of vintage Berlin photos

by James Glazebrook

Tripods at Mauerpark

Check out these stunning collages from our favourite new Tumblr, Old pictures of Berliners. Ana, a journalist originally from Madrid, started collecting old photos at Berlin flea markets when she moved to the city six months ago:

There are plenty of them, everywhere, just stacked inside buckets or lying around in albums. I’ve always liked old pictures, they are tiny windows to stories from the past, how people lived, the way they behaved and dressed, and how similar they sometimes look to us. Berlin seems like the perfect place to go picture hunting because it has gone through so many changes over the years, it’s interesting to place a family pic of a Berliner on a timeline and let the imagination flow.

Originally planning to share the photos, “to bring them to light after being lost”, Ana began creating collages that introduced sci-fi imagery and other anachronisms – placing the scenes of old Berlin in new contexts:

The inspiration comes mostly from word games, or maybe songs, or just a story or image I made up while looking at a particular photo. Sometimes I just cycle around Berlin and catch a scene that would work well with a picture I bought and I take a quick snap that I incorporate later into a collage.

We would love a giant print of Tripods at Mauerpark (above) – which of these images is your favourite?

Family meal

I went picture hunting today


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Daily Deutsch Doodle: Unkraut

by Guest Blogger

Daily Deutsch: Unkraut

by Kaytie Spellman

Daily Deutsch Doodles are a series of illustrations based on contributions to the #dailydeutsch Twitter hashtag, aimed at helping people trying to learn German.

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