Haus Schwarzenberg – one of the last bastions of alternative culture in Mitte – is turning 15, and one of its best-loved tenants, Kino Central, is celebrating with a film series paying homage to the spirit of the collective counterculture movement that has made the Haus its home. Berlin Mitte in Film collects the ideas of documentarians and local heroes, showcasing the transforming urban landscape of the city’s heart.
The series opens with Berlin Stories (October 14, 18:30), a film in three episodes, by three directors. These tales of the city playfully investigate the boundary between life and art, finding inspiration in the rehearsals led by Volksbühne director and playwright René Pollesch.
The people’s voice grows louder in Eine Demokratische Entscheidung (October 15, 18:30), an inspiring documentary about the dedicated, determined social movement that held up the demolition of the Palace of the Republic. The democratic process doesn’t always follow the will of the people it seems, leading to the question: Will Berliners have a voice in deciding the city’s future?
Where Berlin is headed is the subject Mirko Dreiling and Sebastian Heinzel’s b24 (October 18, 18:30), but in a more concrete way. On November 8, 2002, their cameras randomly followed people around the city, learning about their lives, and revealing our collective purpose.
Collectives are borne of shared hopes. Marco Wilms, the internationally renowned director documents the utopian aspirations of five young Berliners squatting in abandoned East German buildings among the euphoria of post-Wall Germany in Mittendrin (October 19, 18:30) – choreographer Sasha Waltz, Rammstein’s Christian Lorenz, Jochen Sandig and two other people still living on the fringe of society resurrect the idealism of the moment and keep Berlin moving forward.
Berlin Babylon (October 24, 16:30) is Hubertus Siegert’s depiction of Berlin’s incessant obsession with reclamation following destruction. The throes of unsteady reconstruction volubly resonate while the peaceful magic of untouched spaces becomes a welcome neighbor. The race to rebuild covers up a past that is still too alive to eulogize.
Unexpected and, perhaps, uncomfortable endings capitulate in the offering from Mitte’s well-known artistic duo Danielle de Picciotto and Alexander Hacke. How Long is Now (October 27, 18:15) closes the series by investigating the evolution of humanity over the past 500 years, using several artists and their varying mediums, from interpretive dance to musical expression to satirical storytelling, ultimately collecting an understanding of our collective story.
In collaboration with Haus Schwarzenberg’s 15th birthday, Kino Central celebrates the story of Mitte and the collective spirit that guides it forward.