A cold beer in the hand, the waft of cigarette smoke, sausage and pretzels under your nose and reclining at an angle just above nap-inducing as you wait for the evening’s cinematic offering to drown out the other sounds of the city night: it’s Freiluftkino time – finally! After a painfully long wait due to Corona uncertainty, conditions have been worked out and the Berliner Senat has approved.
What do those conditions mean for you? Bottom line: buying your tickets online is a must. Additionally, seats are limited (numbers depend on the Kino) and therefore they’ll go quicker than usual. Online tickets may only be purchased in pairs and remember to bring your mask – if you’re not in your seat, you’re still required to wear it. And of course, there’s the 1.5m distance, but that’s nothing new.
But onto the films! Your best bet for OV films is always Freiluftkino Kreuzberg and Freiluftkino Hasenheide. Others offer a smattering of OV offerings, but be warned – most default to German dubbed. The official start for all Freiluftkinos is June 2, but the English-accessible season starts with a truly adventurous treat on June 3, opening with 1954 West German anti-war film Die Brücke with English subs – a chance to see a real rarity of cinema on the big screen. (This was originally planned to be screened on May 8 – Tag der Befreiung). The OV opening ceremonies continue over in Freiluftkino Hasenheide with Joker on June 5. Time to ask yourself once more: Todd Phillips’ super-villain origin story, incel battle cry or call for a socialist uprising?
The program for rest of June is full of the expected hits of the previous year, delightfully spiced up with some classic(-ish) goodies. Over at Freiluftkino Kreuzberg, on June 6 you can catch Melina Matsoukas’ Queen & Slim, an extremely timely look at being black in America. For a bit of Cold War intrigue (and a small French / Russian history lesson), catch Ralph Fiennes’ The White Crow, charting Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s experience in 1960s Paris, on June 13. Still mourning the death of Terry Jones in January? Pay one last tribute to him by catching The Life of Brian on the big screen on June 18. And on June 22, take the opportunity to catch the winner of last year’s best feature at the Porn Film Festival Berlin: The Sad Girls of the Mountains, screening with English subs.
At Hasenheide, you can satisfy that curious bug that the citywide ad campaign for The Kangaroo Chronicles has undoubtedly planted in your head on June 12 when they screen it with English subs. For the uninitiated, The Kangaroo Chronicles is the film adaptation of the 2009 German smash book about a Berlin WG shared by a young man and a communist kangaroo, naturally. Too off-the-wall for you? Head back to reality (sort of), with Danny Boyle’s newest offering Yesterday, a romantic comedy about a man who wakes up in a world where the Beatles never existed. Sommerkino on Potsdamer Platz opens a little later in the game (June 12), but still serves up a handful of OV screenings in case you want to get out of Kreuzberg and Neukölln. On June 13, you can catch Guy Ritchie’s latest, The Gentleman, an ensemble cast comedy in the spirit of Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels starring Matthew McConaughey at the center of a drug empire. For fewer smiles and more screams, you can catch Ari Aster’s Midsommer as part of the Creepy Crypt series on June 19. And for something completely different, catch some waves in landlocked Berlin on June 24 with Shaka, Morgan le Faucheur’s Australian surf documentary screened for, well, Surf Film Night.
Even a worldwide pandemic can’t keep Berliners away from their love affair with open-air cinemas. And while they had a late start this year, there’s still plenty of summer left to keep that love affair alive and healthy. See you under the big screens and starry skies!