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Berlin has hosted more than its share of cinematic icons. Here are some places to follow in their footsteps.
Given its historical significance, it should come as no surprise to film buffs that Berlin has graced the silver screen on many occasions. From pulse-pounding popcorn flicks to historical dramas to comedies, the city has had a starring role in all sorts of movies. Relive cinematic lore at the following places around town.
Interestingly, although most of Quentin Tarantino’s outlandish revisionist tale of World War II revenge is set in France, it was primarily filmed in Germany. In fact, the grand Parisian bistro that serves as the setting for a particularly menacing scene from Christopher Waltz’s character is actually a historic building in Berlin. Go to the Café Einstein and order its famous apple strudel, as Shoshanna does—just don’t forget the whipped cream.
Said to be a source of inspiration for a number of Hollywood action directors, this unconventional thriller has audiences relive the same caper three times with three different outcomes. Its hyperkinetic cinematic style, blend of live action and animation, and adrenaline-laced techno soundtrack make it a classic that’s just as fun to watch today as it was in 1998. Die-hards can trace parts of Lola’s running routes or visit the site of her apartment at 13–14 Albrechtstraße in Mitte.
A haunting look at surveillance during World War II, this quietly powerful picture from filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck clinched the Oscar for “Best Foreign Film.” It was shot in several locations around East Berlin, including Karl-Marx-Allee.
Who could forget Liza Minelli’s capricious, volatile, ultimately self-destructive nightclub crooner Sally Bowls? Set in the decadent nocturnal scene of pre-war West Berlin, the musical perfectly captures the uneasy spirit of the times. Follow the Fräulein’s tale to the S-Bahn station Bleibtreustraße, where she demands that the protagonist Brian scream as the train roars overhead.
Based on the true memoir of Christiane Vera Felscherinow, this unflinching look at drug addiction amongst a band of runaway children is both harrowing and deeply evocative of West Berlin in the 1970s. David Bowie makes a cameo and his music is the basis for the film’s soundtrack. To visit the area where the children lived, head to the Bahnhof Zoo U-Bahn station.