3 items from 2011
Berlin has been the backdrop – and even the star – in movies from cold war spy thrillers to dramas about the collapse of East Germany. Andrew Pulver picks the top 10 films set in the city
• As featured in our Berlin city guide
Silent cinema flourished in Germany during the Weimar years, and Berlin was immortalised in two particularly brilliant impressionist tributes: Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, and People on Sunday, which aimed to create a patchwork of ordinary Berliners' lives. This film, with its cast of non-professional actors and hidden camera, gets the pick – partly because of its extraordinary writing and directing credit roll. Virtually everyone – including Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann and Robert Siodmak – went on to make a name for themselves in Hollywood, after being forced out of Germany during the Nazi era.
• Bahnhof Zoo; Nikolassee
- Andrew Pulver
Experimental animator Robert Breer, once referred to by the Harvard Film Archive as the "Kinetic Poet of the Avant-Garde," passed away on Friday. Pip Chodorov broke the news via the Frameworks list, calling him "a good friend, a very funny man, and a great artist."
Breer's father, an automobile designer, rigged a Bolex so that he could shoot home movies in 3D. In the early 50s, Breer lived in Paris, where he made large abstract paintings, and in the 60s, he made "float" sculptures that wander the gallery. An exhibition of several of these paintings and sculptures is currently on view at Baltic's Level 4 Gallery in Gateshead through September 25.
Yoel Meranda, who, a few years ago, worked at the Film-makers' Cooperative in New York, which Breer co-founded in the 70s, has a moving remembrance. Here's how it begins: "When I first saw on Fred Camper's Senses of Cinema top tens »
"It's easy to enjoy Raffaello Matarazzo's melodramas for the campy excess of their acting and story lines," blogs Dave Kehr, "but it's more productive to take them seriously, I think — to see how cleanly and elegantly Matarazzo presents this bezerko material, with a visual style that reminded Jacques Lourcelles of Lang, Dreyer and Mizoguchi, and how perfectly engineered his narratives are, with every outlandish episode incorporated into a serene, symmetrical structure. The new Matarazzo box set (my New York Times review is here) from Criterion's budget Eclipse line contains four of Matarazzo's seven films with the towering star couple Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson (literally — Matarazzo's mise-en-scene somehow makes them seem larger, both physically and emotionally, than any of the other characters on the screen), all subtitled in English for the first time: Chains (1949) [image above], Tormento (1950), Nobody's Children (1952) and The White Angel (1955)."
"Though immensely popular, the films were dismissed by »
3 items from 2011
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