A stunning high-tech, interactive homage to the greats of Berlin's rich film history including Marlene Dietrich, Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Fritz Lang and others. Three floors film nostalgia in the Potsdamer Platz' space-age Sony building.
Movie buffs will want to add the new Film Museum Berlin to the list of things to see on their next visit to Berlin.
Located in the Sony Center in the city's space-age Potsdamer Platz development, the museum occupies three of the building's 14 floors. Two floors display the permanent collection and the third is for visiting exhibits.
Sets, props, equipment, costumes, scripts and scores are displayed over 16 rooms. Included are a film library, a multimedia room, an online center with links to film, television and new media, plus various theme rooms and a screening room where some 1,000 films can be viewed.
An electronically guided tour of the museum (included in the price of admission) takes visitors through almost 100 years of German film-making, with a few glimpses of Hollywood thrown in. Movie clips include excerpts from epics of the 1920s and 1930s, like Metropolis and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; while other presentations delve into the dark era of the Cinema of National Socialism.
The museum pays homage to a number of German film greats, among them Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski and Hanna Schygulla. Also featured are historic items and memorabilia from the estates of Fritz Lang, Paul Kohner, Heinz Rühmann, and the legendary Berliner, Marlene Dietrich.
The Dietrich Exhibit
Three of the 16 rooms are devoted to the Marlene Dietrich Exhibit, part of the larger Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin, which is housed separately because of its size (the total collection includes some 3,500 items).
Gathered from Hollywood, New York, London and Paris, where the film star lived in later years until her death in 1992, the Dietrich memorabilia was a major acquisition and ranks among the worlds largest and most valuable privately owned movie-star collections. The Dietrich Exhibit changes every six months, rotating items from the main collection and giving visitors a reason to return.
Many of the glamorous gowns from Dietrichs famous wardrobe are on display, including creations by Balanciaga, Balmain, Dior and Schiaparelli. Fans will recognize film costumes by leading designers like Jean Louis, Travis Branton, Edith Head and Eddie Schmidt. Accessories include jewelry, hats, purses, gloves, shoes...and even the luggage that carried them around the globe for her many film and singing engagements.
Stills and off-screen shots from famous Dietrich movies recall important film moments, and the many family and private portraits include studies by artists such as Cecil Beaton, Irving Chidnoff, Tony Armstrong Jones and Edward Steichen. Paintings, sketches, posters and costumed figurines round out the exhibit, plus letters from friends and admirers like Noel Coward, Jean Gabin, Hildegard Knef, Kurt Weill and Orson Welles.
Though Dietrich became a U.S. citizen in 1939, Berlin was always home. The title of her autobiography, Ich bin, Gott sei Dank, Berlinerin (I Am, Thank God, a Berliner), is clear evidence of her attachment to the city. In the Billy Wilder films, A Foreign Affair (1948), and Witness for the Prosecution (1957), her characters were German women; and in Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), she portrayed the widow of a German general.
The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm with extended hours each Thursday until 8pm. General admission is € 6. Special rates are available for families, students and groups.
Film Museum Berlin Deutsche Kinemathek, Sony Center, Potsdamer Strasse 2, D-10785 Berlin, tel: + 49/030/300 903 0, fax 300 903 13.