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.
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.
Subtitles: German [CC]
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.
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!
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?
What about you? What Berlin-based movies would you like to see in Netflix Germany?
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!
The Loxx Miniature Railway version of Berlin is probably the city’s best-kept secret, or at least it was until our photos ended up on the front page of The Guardian website. Small world(!) – on our second visit to the mini-Berlin on top of Alexa mall, we ran into Dave from the blog Andberlin – who also named Loxx as one of his highlights of the year. This is the perfect place to go on a rainy winter’s day.
To celebrate Zoë’s birthday we went to Stockholm and Copenhagen and while we were there, visited the most beautiful and inspiring place we’ve ever been. Looking back at our post about the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, I feel like my words fail to live up to Zo’s stunning photos, and even those can’t capture the breathtaking beauty of the museum and its coastal environment. We thoroughly enjoyed our short time in Scandinavia, but the Louisiana was the hands-down highlight.
The first of our articles to appear on The Guardian, 5 Apps Berlin Really Needs, was a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the buzzy, bubbly startup capital of Europe. Our iProtest app concept gamified civil disobedience, while Angry Berliners turned German bureaucracy into an addictive platform game. Our Buskamatic app aside, March was a great month for music – Modeselektor released the iconic video for their “Berlin” anthem, and we discovered Big Stu’s comedy rap tributes to Hühnerhaus and Kottbusser Tor.
Our personal highlight of the year has to be getting our hands on this little ball of cute. In fact, Olive is probably many readers’ main reason for visiting the blog – we might be better off training her to work a camera and a laptop and leaving her to it! The unofficial überlin mascot, Big Ö is recognised way more frequently than we are, and has turned up in the unlikeliest of places – including an Instagram tutorial video and a conversation with a Bully-obsessed stranger at my cousin’s wedding (“you own Olive the dog?!!!”). Apart from welcoming our fuzzy daughter to the fold, we also ate the meal of the year (with matched cocktails!) at Rollin Restaurant.
If our May pick was a movie it would be the überlin prequel, Escape from Newcastle. While our home toon stands for everything we hate (or is that the other way around?), we still have a soft spot for the football-loving Stella-downing lads and lasses we grew up with – something we hope came across in our “origin story”, From Geordie Shore to Germany. Back in Berlin, visiting friends introduced us to the Ramones Museum, the only such institute devoted to the Detroit proto-punks in the whole world, the personal collection of a Berliner who must be their greatest fan.
It might seem obvious, but our What I Know about Germans post is like David Hasslehoff’s “Looking For Freedom”: ubiquitous, infectious, and every German loves it ;). Credit for our “greatest hit” actually goes to writer Liv Hambrett, for her keen observations about her adopted countrymen, and illustrator Mischief Champion who’s busy bringing them to life for WIKAG – the book! Photo op of the month (year?) had to be Berlin Gay Pride 2012 – so many queers! So many colours!
It seems like a long time since Zoë spent a boiling Berlin Fashion Week maximising her time in the air-conditioned tent, and occasionally popping outside to photograph slebs like Fashionbloggerin Miggy. Lucky for us, she braved the heat long enough to get these impressions of Berlin Fashion Week SS13.
While Peaches was never exactly a reason for moving to Berlin, we’ve never been able to think about the city without picturing her merkin. Since we arrived, we’ve been lucky enough to see her twice: “doing herself” live on stage and orchestrating a protest/video shoot in support of Pussy Riot. We weren’t the only starstruck fans following this freak parade into Mauerpark, and it was impressive to see Ms Nisker whipping up a storm to publicise an important – and still ongoing – cause. Less colourful, but no less eye-opening, was guest blogger Russell Dornan’s look behind the closed doors of Berlin’s Natural History Museum.
You Know You’re a Berliner When… you pose for a photo pretending the TV Tower is your penis, which then becomes a lightning rod for critics of hipsters, expats and archisexts (I made this one up). Having regular “Berlinergasms” was just one of 11 sure-fire signs that you’ve become a Berliner, along with dancing in a U-Bahn station and witnessing at least one daily act of crazy. Zoë saw more craziness at London Fashion Week SS13 – here is just a taste.
October was a month of light and dark. The gloomy nights provided the perfect backdrop for the Festival of Lights and (we think) our animated GIFs were the perfect demonstration of the event’s kaleidoscopic displays. Far less joyful was Berlin Crawling: 10 Halloween Horror Films, a list of creepshows shot here in the Haupstadt, ranging from the slick (the neo-Giallo short Yellow) to the just plain sick (corpse love story Nekromantik).
We’re so glad Phia agreed to be the first subject in our series of Berlin portraits. We’d heard the Australian singer/songwriter/thumb-pianist at an intimate concert in a fellow musician’s house, and loved her stories and songs about her granddad, a Berliner, and what it meant to live in his hometown. We spent a beautiful, crisp day discovering her Berlin, and sharing our love for the creative, open city we now call home. Oh, and we celebrated two years of überlin/living in Berlin!
As we entered our third winter in Berlin, we thought we should share the survival skills we’ve picked up with expats who’ve recently arrived from warmer climes. With the help of Josh Bauman’s awesome caricatures of us (and Olive!), our more-or-less practical tips about How to Survive a Berlin Winter helped to restore calm among the panicky sun-botherers freaking out at the first sight of snow. I wonder if anyone’s quit their job or grown a beard on our advice? And giving away €250 of Berlin-themed swag was a great way to end another awesome year of überlin.
Join us in 2013 for more Berlin love and LOLs. Happy New Year!
Urban Explorer (2011)
The only way this sub-Hostel torture porn could only be more gimmicky is if it featured teenage vampires doing parkour. Capitalising on the buzz around urban exploring, and Berlin as the ultimate “urbex” destination, it does little to help the local tourist board by reinforcing dangerous German stereotypes. On their quest to discover Hitler’s bunker, a group of tourists fall victim to a sadistic neo-Nazi. (Because Germans = Nazis.) But I imagine this film is a far more terrifying viewing experience for native Berliners, due to its horrifyingly accurate portrayal of invading douchebag Touris. The best part? Spotting our local U-Bahn station at the end.
The U-Bahn is the starting point for Demons, co-written and produced by Italian master Dario Argento. A university student is pursued by a mysterious masked man who, instead of attacking her, offers her tickets to a horror film screening at a newly-renovated West Berlin cinema. Once there, art imitates art as the captive audience becomes prey for the Dèmoni of the original Italian title. Cue gore, gore and yet more gore, backed by a soundtrack featuring longtime Argento collaborator (and Goblin member) Claudio Simonetti, German metal mainstays Scorpions and Accept, Billy Idol and, um, Mötley Crüe.
A masked man also looms large in this short film inspired by Argento, and his fellow directors from the Giallo genre. Crowdfunded and shot in Berlin earlier this year, Yellow combines the slicked-streets, neon aesthetic of Michael Mann and Drive with old school Italian bloodletting. It oozes class, from the stunning opening sequence of Berlin from above, to the neo-Italo soundtrack from Antoni Maiovvi, to the poster illustrated by Graham Humphreys (Evil Dead). Currently doing the rounds at the world’s top horror film festivals, as well as Social Media Week here in Berlin, this is worth seeing the first chance you get.
Der Teufel von Rudow (2004)
Another indie production, The Devil of Rudow does little to mask its budget limitations. A hokey romp through a southern suburb of Berlin, this is an old-fashioned scare story slightly updated with modern hole-in-hand technology, a butt-kicking female lead and knowing gags: “It’s quiet… almost too quiet!” A must-miss.
How’s this for an elevator pitch? “A street sweeper who cleans up after grisly accidents brings home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him.” My favourite part of that IMDB synopsis is the term “full corpse”, although film watchdogs would disagree, having banned the film from almost every country in the world. Arguably a serious social commentary, but undeniably grisly and transgressive, Nekromantik has become something of a cult classic.
Anatomy 2 (2003)
Anyone who’s seen Run Lola Run or the Bourne trilogy could be forgiven for thinking of Franke Potente as a credible, bankable German actress. But not anyone who’s seen the medical horror Anatomie or its Berlin-based sequel. Potente revises her role as a medical student-slash-investigator of creepy goings-on, to uncover a secret society performing human experiments with bionic muscles, with horrific-slash-hilarious consequences.
We Are The Night (2010)
Franka Potente was originally down to direct this sexy vampire thriller with the tagline “Immortal. Insatiable.” However, in the ten years it took to make it, writer Dennis Gansel took over director duties, finally releasing Wir Sind die Nacht after his (excellent) 2008 film The Wave – into a receptive, post-Twilight world. As far as teen trash goes, this looks eminently watchable, not least for some stunning shots of abandoned Berlin, including Spreepark and Teufelsburg.
Rammbock: The Berlin Undead (2010)
[REC] meets Shaun of the Dead. “Hide and seek. With zombies.” Whatever description you choose for this enjoyable siege movie won’t be as deep as director Marvin Kren’s: “I am more interested by stories with a pessimistic point of view of our society, and zombie movies always depict a world that is bad. It’s never been our intention to just do a film about the living dead; instead, we were more intrigued by the way people in Germany and Europe would react to that scenario. My generation would never take weapons and react like Americans would do; it’s not part of our culture. We would most probably panic at first and then try to find a way to escape alive out of this bad situation.” (Fangoria)
What. The. Freak. This über-low-budget fantasy shot in desaturated near-black-and-white tells the surreal story of a woman pursued through the woods (or is that Görlitzer Park?), after consuming some magic mushrooms. And something about Satan experiencing a heavenly vision. Oh, and the title is “Medusa” backwards. Seriously, WTF.
Last but not least, the most critically-acclaimed film in this list, Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession. An agonising portrayal of a dying relationship, that slowly spirals into occult happenings and Cronenburg-esque body horror, it features a hysterical, Cannes award-winning performance from Isabelle Adjani and some of Sam Neill’s hammiest moments. A deeply unsettling watch, Possession is worth sticking with if only for a glimpse at early 80s Berlin, especially the apartment location on a street divided by the Wall. Warning: this trailer contains mad spoilers.
Have you seen any of these horrorshows? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.