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Berlin on Film


Berlin on Film

3-part film series (March 6, 11, 18)

check webiste for info


March 6, 2014, 6:30pm (first of 3)

TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 4, 350 King St W, Toronto, ON
35mm, with English subtitles
Tickets $10, day-of sales only at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, open at 10am

Berlin 1932. 1997. 2007. "Poor but sexy", the German capital's current byline, already applied to pre- and post-WWII West Berlin and the post-Wall 90s. Each film preceded by an introductory talk.

We are opening the series with a film written by Bertolt Brecht and which John Gianvito included in a recent contribution to Sight & Sound’s 10 Greatest Films, stating as his criteria "I wanted all of them to have a poetic quality and a strong visual, rhythmic and almost haptic tone. In these films, the art of cinema is not compromised by simple storytelling, journalism or other alien approaches. These films are true to the art of cinema."

KUHLE WAMPE (Germany 1932, 71 min), Director Slatan Dudow and co-writer Bertolt Brecht, with Hertha Thiele, Ernst Busch, Martha Wolter and others.

"The politically most radical and formally most innovative film of the period." Sabine Hake - German National Cinema

"One of the best films of the century!" Village Voice

The story centers on a working-class family in Berlin in 1931 where survival is difficult, with massive unemployment in the wake of the Great Depression. After Anni's brother commits suicide in despair, her family finds itself forced to move to Kuhle Wampe, a lakeside camp on the outskirts of Berlin. When Anni's relationship with Franz ends, she moves back to Berlin and gets involved in the workers' youth movement.

KUHLE WAMPE was originally banned because it was considered an insult to the Reich's president, the judiciary and religion, but due to protests the ban was lifted with a recut version. The film remained unseen for many years after World War II.


Slatan Dudow was born in 1903 in Bulgaria and died in 1963 in Berlin, where he studied theatre. He directed Brecht's piece DIE MASSNAHME. After 1933, he was arrested and imprisoned in 1939, but escaping to Switzerland. In 1946, he returned to Berlin and worked as a director at the DEFA studios.

Bertolt Brecht was born on 10 February 1898 in Augsburg, Germany and one of the country's most influential poets, playwrights and screenwriters. He died on 14 August 1956 in East Berlin. His most famous work was the musical THE THREEPENNY OPERA (with Kurt Weill).

Introduced by Michael Wheeler, director, writer, social designer, and artistic director of Praxis Theatre. He has among many other productions directed the world premiere of RIFLES by Nicolas Billon, based on Brecht’s SENORA CARRAR'S RIFLES. Michael has been Co-Curator of the Freefall Festival, and has worked at The Shaw Festival and Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH ’14 Performance Laboratory. He holds a MFA from the ART/MXAT Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.

All GOETHE FILMS are open to audiences 18+.

Part of the Goethe-Institut's focus on German Film.

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