Berlin, 90 years ago and still fresh, now in TV
The Berlin international film festival is still on, and parallel to it, one of the TV channels is broadcasting a series of Berlin films. One of them is the silent film "Berlin. Die Sinfonie der Großstadt" - "Berlin. The Symphony of the Big City." by Walther Ruttman was first shown in cinemas in 1927, the same year that Fritz Lang released his now-classic expressionist film "Metropolis". In contrast to Metropolis, Ruttman's Visual Symphony is documentary, with an impressionist atmosphere, and even now feels modern. Here's a short sequence of the film:
There's a long version of the film up at youtube, too: Berlin. Symphony of a Great City (1927)
And here's a bit more about the film:
"As a "city symphony" film, it portrays the life of a city, mainly through visual impressions in a semi-documentary style, without the narrative content of more mainstream films, though the sequencing of events can imply a kind of loose theme or impression of the city's daily life. These films were conceived of in the mid to late 1920's amongst the "artistic" writers and filmmakers as an avant-garde, "new style" of early filmmaking that evolved from a script-free open narrative form that sought to show a clearer, less cluttered view of the world free from a real storyline or rigid structure." (wiki link)*
From Berlin to the language of Hollywood
Watching the Berlin film and other features about the Berlinale made me remember that i saw a note on a lecture-series on film and the language of Hollywood at Coursera, the online lecture website. So i went looking, and the class actually started just last week - and the first week is about the silent films of the 1920ies. So interesting to watch right now. The course includes 5-weeks, with 22 video lectures altogether, and a range of film examples that starts in 1928 and leads to 2002, here's the link: The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color
& some related links:
- Moments from Berlin + Berlinale film festival, with 12 film festival links + more
that's from the first days of the Berlin film festival
- 9 film festival links: Oscars, Berlinale, Sundance..
links to film festival websites and to trailer pages.
Below, the Berlin image, in full technicolor - it almost looks like a photo trick, with the radio tower in the background, but standing there in front of the Berlin Cathedral (which dates back to 1450), that's exactly the view you see