city in space - berlin - locations



When thinking of Berlin’s cinema buildings, most people recollect the film houses and the Art  Nouveau picture palaces beaming films into the night in the twenties. Many of these buildings that  established Berlin’s reputation as a cinema city did not survive the war. Very soon, however, the  considerable gaps in the rows of the cinemas were to be closed again.  Following various reconstructions and conversions, not only did a new building boom begin in the fifties, but new aesthetics also became recognisable. Whereas so far modern functionalism and well-defined lines had determined constructivist clarity in the architecture, now a more lively use of forms appeared, shaped by names such as Bruno Meltendorf, Hans Bielenberg, Paul Bode and Gerhard Fritsche. The often generously glazed entrance halls and foyers normally led to rooms with a dynamic interplay of rounded corners, asymmetrical lines or wave-like structures of the walls and ceilings. And to think this occurred in rooms of a relatively small size.  In the sixties, however, grandiose and glamorous spatial dynamics occurred. The style is far removed from the architectural efficiency that characterises most modern multiplex cinemas now-adays which seem to be geared more towards the functional aesthetics of multi-storey car parks. Up until the sixties, the idea of an aesthetic experience charmingly combined in architecture and film was still evident in the design of cinemas.  These theatres are where the big cinema boom of the post-war era took place. These were where youthful rebellion against bourgeois family structures developed, and then those same families were brought together again by spending a few pleasant hours in the cinema. The atmosphere of these buildings is inextricably linked to the early experiences of film in colour and the Big Screen that, for a long time, formed a contrast to the grey cityscape of the post-war era. This is how they finally became an integral part of our cultural memory: "Do you remember that time in the cinema...".