Berlin: Symphony of a Great City
This movie shows us one day in Berlin, the rhythm of that time, starting at the earliest morning and ends in the deepest night.This movie shows us one day in Berlin, the rhythm of that time, starting at the earliest morning and ends in the deepest night.This movie shows us one day in Berlin, the rhythm of that time, starting at the earliest morning and ends in the deepest night.
Some slight differences do seem apparent, however. When a fight breaks out in a public place today, people usually try to ignore it, or even duck their heads and run for cover. But in a scene where two men argue violently in the street, the Berliners of the 1920s crowd in close around the combatants, and even try to separate them and arbitrate the dispute, before a policeman moves in. Whether this was typically European at that time, or just typical of its era, I really can't say, but it seems strange to me today.
Although I think the majority of this film was shot in a candid manner, and looks it, it's obvious that not quite all of it was un-staged, as a previous commentator has pointed out. For example, look at the argument scene just mentioned. Considering one of the camera angles (probably from a 2nd floor window), the argument must have been staged at the exact spot where this camera could catch it, and the crowd's reaction, from above. In addition, a second camera was in place at street level to move in close, which hardly suggests a serendipitous event.
A good musical score is vitally important to bring this film to life. It's too bad the original score has been lost. It would be fascinating to know what it was like. But I think the one written by Timothy Brock for the Kino edition is superb in that it captures its changing moods and rhythms. If, as one internet reviewer commented, it seems a bit melancholy, that may be apropos considering that this beautiful city, and a great many of its inhabitants, would be consumed in fire less than 20 years later.
- Feb 25, 2002