It’s hard to imagine Wedding as a cinematic epicentre, but once upon a time, it was just that. During the Golden Twenties, when Berlin was the world’s Kino capital, countless cinemas started popping up across the city, and all of a sudden, Wedding had one on every corner: Lichtburg on Behmstraße, Komet Theater and Schauburg on Schwedenstraße, Marienbad-Lichtspiele on Badstraße, Theater des Weddings on Sellerstraße and, Wedding’s biggest and oldest Kino, Alhambra on Seestraße. The latter burned out during World War II but was quickly rebuilt in 1953 with an impressive, illuminated façade. While most of Wedding’s cinemas closed down in the early 60s, Alhambra persevered for another thirty years, until it, too, conceded defeat in 1999.
… once off-limits to anyone who didn’t belong to the French army
And today? Apart from the grey colossus that is the 2002-opened, third Alhambra incarnation (now owned by Cineplex), there’s not much going on in post-Wende Wedding. Only one little Kino, tucked away behind the associated Centre Français, remains a source of hope to cinephiles: since Anne Lakeberg and Wiebke Wolter reopened it in 2014, City Kino Wedding has been providing much needed arthouse fare. Before that, the building served the French sector as a cultural centre, theatre and cinema for 31 years and, after the allied forces had withdrawn in 1994, was repurposed as a public cinema in 1996 before closing again in 2007.
The cinema which was once off-limits to anyone who didn’t belong to the French army is now the only place left in Wedding where Kino-connoisseurs can get their fix. Under the curation of Lakeberg, who has been (wo)manning the 230-seats Kino on her own since 2019, the programme ranges from arthouse to documentaries, often with a political angle, and the cinema has become a popular destination for film festivals, such as this month’s Animation Festival. But Wahlweddingerin Lakeberg is keeping the cinema grounded: for the last three years, she has been showing Wedding (1989), a low-budget production following three former school friends, who reunite years later in their old hideout near the eastside of the Berlin Wall. Enjoy this piece of Kiez-history with a cold Vagabund beer and come on September 10 to celebrate the eight year anniversary of a Kino that shows dedication both to cinema and the Kiez beyond.
- City Kino, Wedding, Müllerstr. 74, screenings Wed-Sun