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!
Wow, what a year! It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Berlin two years – because it feels like we’ve lived here forever, yet sometimes it’s like we’ve just stepped off the plane. That’s the enduring freshness of love, I guess. Too sappy? Then maybe we’ll just skip to our highlights of 2012: our favourite moments and places, most awesome blog posts, and all the other (furry) little things that made the year our best yet.
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’scomedy 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 Weekmaximising 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 Phiaagreed 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!
Happy Halloween! While the Germans don’t traditionally celebrate All Hallow’s Eve, we’ve unearthed a whole cryptful of Berlin-based horror films to while away the witching hours. Scroll down for zombies, demons, masked killers, sexy vampires and sadistic neo-Nazis, all slacking and hacking their way across the Haupstadt.
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.
A Night and The City at Prince Charles
I don’t know what it is, but Prince Charles doesn’t feel very Berlin. Maybe it’s the high poser quotient, or the carefully contrived design touches, or maybe I’m just acutely aware of all that because it’s so bastard bright. Well, Night and the City have come up with a solution to that: make the club pitch black. They’re erecting walls around the dancefloor to completely cut out all light, in order to see “what impact the situation has on your music experience.” Click through on the image below to find out the full event details, more importantly, how the team plan to stop it becoming a Berghain-style dark room.
FRIDAY 26th OCTOBER
Horror Night at Filmpark Babelsburg
We freaking love Halloween! And there looks to be no better way to spend it than at Filmpark Babelsburg’s Horrornächte. Take a trip outside of the Ringbahn (scary enough, right?) to be pursued by monsters, mutants and zombies through haunted houses and creepy mazes. Get a combo ticket and you can go back on Saturday for a “Monster Party” in the Prince Valiant restaurant. According to a sketchy Google Translate, it promises to be “memorable, flashy and trashy!” Click through below… if you dare MUHAHAHAHHAHAHAAaaaaaa
SATURDAY 27th OCTOBER
Handmade in Germany 2012 opens at Direktorenhaus
That the Germans are great at building/making stuff won’t surprise anyone who’s read What I Know About Germans, but it’s always nice to see the products of their labour. Direktorenhaus is opening its doors to 30 master craftsmen, innovative manufacturers and experimental designers, for what should be a very special exhibition indeed. If you’re waaay richer than us, it might be a good place to get Christmas gift ideas! Click through on the REAL MAN below to find out more.
Mez Medallion Cassette Release Party at Loophole
If you want to know where the Australians will be on Saturday night, look no further. Melbourne’s Mez Medallion is debuting his album Move Towards the Light, with a little help from his talented (and capitalised) countrymen/women TUSK and PHIA. Oh, and you’d better dust off that ghetto blaster you bought at Mauerpark, because the album’s being released on limited edition cassette tape. Event details here and pretty video here:
I’m excited about Social Media Week Berlin (24th – 28th September), for three good reasons: 1) social media is both my job and my private life – and the reason I can’t always tell the difference between the two; 2) this year’s schedule is full of even more awesome than last year’s (read my highlights here); 3) oh, and I was part of the Advisory Board responsible for putting it all together (see my biog and moody photo here). Here are my personal picks of what is shaping up to be a very special week here in Berlin. All events are free, and open to the public (although you do need to register), so I’ll see you down there!
MONDAY 24th SEPTEMBER
Social Media Week Official Opening Party @ Fluxbau (event info) A no-brainer this one, with free drinks (the Nokia-sponsored Social Bar will give away beer, wine or long drinks, depending on which of three hashtags is most popular at the time), views of the Spree and a performance by an Italian band touring all the European Social Media Weeks: Gardens of Alibis woooooo. Friday’s closing party should be something special too – silent disco, anyone?
TUESDAY 25th SEPTEMBER
Network Awesome @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info) No more information on this yet, but if it’s half as awesome as Network Awesome’s cleverly curated YouTube videos, it should be Fucking Awesome. Par example, here’s a collection of their head-bangingest, mind-fuckingest heavy metal videos:
Yellow- The Movie Screening @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info) The cast and crew of this neo-Gallo horror shot right here in Berlin will explain how crowdfunding made it happen, before screening the gruesome short film itself. The movie’s been shown at Film 4 Fright Fest in London and other festivals, and is already picking up rave reviews. I’ll be down the front, hiding behind my box of popcorn.
WEDNESDAY 26th SEPTEMBER
Collaborative Consumption @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info) People from companies such as Gidsy and Wimdu put their heads together to address the important business of using technology and human ingenuity to develop new ways of sharing, lending and exchanging time, skills and resources.
Beer Tasting @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info) Need I say more?
I Wanna Dance with Somebody… in Chicago! @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info) Berlin’s own Paulo Reachi (Tresor) goes up against a Chicago DJ as their sets are simultaneously broadcast in both cities. To get you warmed up, here’s a playlist from Reachi’s Airdrop Records, including the likes of Soul Clap.
THURSDAY 27th SEPTEMBER
Berlapthlon – The Berlin based Heptathlon @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info) I’ll be taking a break from the day’s hardcore gaming/business content for the appallingly-named, but fun-sounding Berlapthlon. Don’t know if I’ll be taking part in what sounds like a silly sporting event to rival the Slowlympics, but I’ll certainly be there to witness the following activities:
1) Chess (10 minutes)
2) Table tennis
3) Find and eat a vegan currywurst
4) Swim in a lake
5) Bottle opening
6) Bottle collection
7) Get into Berghain
FRIDAY 28th SEPTEMBER
Tod und Social Media / Talking Death @ Design Akademie Berlin (event info / event info) Both are in German, but I might test my language skills at the closing, and potentially most interesting, sessions of Social Media Week 2012. The first is a talk by Jörg Eisfeld-Reschke of ikosom.de, who is then joined by a journalist, founder and an academic for a discussion about what happens to us – on Facebook – after we die. After all that Deutsch and death, I’m going to need a drink!
For the full Berlin schedule, go to SocialMediaWeek.org. If you were curious about what’s happening ALL OVER THE WORLD on Social Media Week, check out these curated guides:
Pieces of Berlin, tales from Down Under, and music from the future. Weekendness.
THURSDAY 13th SEPTEMBER
Down Under Berlin – Australian Film Festival This truly epic Antipodean film festival opens tonight with Toomelah, a crime drama set among Australia’s indigenous Gamilaroi and Bigambal people. Through to Sunday, Germany’s oldest cinema – Kino Moviemento in Kreuzberg – will show 63 films, including 10 world premieres, 25 European premieres, 51 German premieres and 56 Berlin premieres. For the full programme, click here or check out the trailer below (which won’t tell you much, but is a good giggle):
Pieces of Berlin exhibition opening at Lomography Gallery Store One of our favourite visual documents of Berlin’s people and places has a photography exhibition at the Lomography store. Featuring live music and an animation performance (!), the real stars remain Florian Reischauer’s warm portraits of Berlin. To see his work, go to Pieces of Berlin, and to find out about tonight, click through on the flyer below:
FRIDAY 14th SEPTEMBER
MusicMakers Berlin, at Prince Charles The brains behind createdigitalmusic are treating us to a “design party for the future of music”, featuring boutique design creators, artists, and tech-minded music creators. For more on this fascinating showcase of live music, instruments made out of bananas, handmade kalimbas, and the futuristic gestural AirPiano click through:
Basement beats, handmade treats, and a classic film in a neo-gothic church. Open wide for some weekend!
THURSDAY 6th SEPTEMBER
Medium Rare opening at idrawalot Another strong First Thursday at idrawalot, as a trio of Berlin-based Aussie artists show works of intricate watercolours, geomorphic graphite planes and densely tactile oils. For more details, clicky clicky on the below piccy:
FRIDAY 7th SEPTEMBER
La Dolce Vita screening at KulturRaum Zwingli-Kirche The Berlin Film Society presents the Fellini classic, along with Italian food, drinks and live jazz, in the beautiful surroundings of a former neo-gothic church. Click the flyer below to find out more details, and the photo below that to see more of Zoë’s stunning photos of the KulturRaum.
Diplo / Sick Girls at Gretchen The man from Mad Decent headlines THE OFFICIAL BERLIN MUSIC WEEK EXTENSION! (CAPITALS!!!!) along with local lasses Sick Girls. Click on his big ol’ face for party deets.
SATURDAY 8th SEPTEMBER
Isherwood’s Neighbourhood – A Walking Tour Brendan Nash from Cabaret Berlin leads another tour of the Berlin experienced by author Christopher Isherwood during the Weimar era. You can find more details on the tour (which starts at 11am) here - and listen to an interview with your guide below:
OneBeat at Brunnen70 Wedding basement bar Brunnen70 (guess the address!) will showcase live acts, VJs and DJs playing beats, electronica and dub. We’re most looking forward to a live set from Wermonster, who, among other things, creates tracks from sounds recorded around Berlin… but we imagine the foundant au chocolat cupcakes will also be a big draw. Sweet
SUNDAY 9th SEPTEMBER
handmade supermarket at Markthalle IX This monthly market for handmade and fair trade products takes place in the 120-year-old Markthalle IX in Kreuzberg. Visitors will find great food and drinks at the “Marktküche”, a DIY corner with Dawanda and a small playground for the kids. Free entry, click-through on the image below for more details.
KulturRaum Zwingli-Kirche is a charitable cultural centre in an old church near Rudolfplatz, Friedrichshain. Berlin Film Society, who are screening La Dolce Vitathere this Friday, were kind enough to invite me to photograph the space while they set up. This neo-gothic church is about to undergo a much-needed renovation, so I felt lucky to be able to capture its current state of beautiful decay. If you want to see it before all its edges are ironed out, come to this Friday’s event, for Italian food and drinks, live jazz, and of course, La Dolce Vita.
We LOVE sushi, and we’re craving some actual good films after the shit we’ve sat through lately (Matrix 2 and 3… WHY?!). That’s why we’re stoked that the Berlin Film Society is showing this feature-length documentary at Agora Collective on Friday: Jiro Dreams of Sushi. We’re going to get there early so we can nom down some free ricepipes and then sink a few in the Hecate pop-up cocktail bar afterwards. You can get tickets on Gidsy, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s a little taster (!) of the film to whet your appetite (!!):
A thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection. The story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow.
Our favourite film club has invited us to host a movie night! Join us next Monday (March 26th) for a free screening of a very special surprise film. We’re not dropping any hints, except to say that we’re going to show something awesome that was filmed here in Berlin. We have some ideas already, but we’d love to know: what Berlin film would you like to see?
überlin Movie Night (Facebook event)
Movie-club Merkezi #17
Monday 26th March, 19:30