Potsdamer Platz and The Deutsche Kinemathek

One of the first places my Sister and I saw when we were in Berlin was Potsdamer Platz.  Well, the first place we saw was Brandenburg Tor, but from there we had a lovely walk to the Platz (finding the Canadian Embassy along the way – RANDOM!).

Potsdamer Platz is a public square that was once the site of the Potsdamer Gate (where the old road from the city of Potsdam passed through Berlin’s city wall).  It was doing pretty well until World War 2 stomped all over it and then that wall was through it, but since reunification it’s been brought up to speed.

Also, old timey street-lights!

Street lights mit clocks.  Interesting choice.
Street lights mit clocks. Interesting choice.

It is thought that the first traffic lights in Continental Europe were installed in Potsdamer Platz, but of course it’s tough to prove the actual first.  I will say that this is a pretty cool street light nonetheless.

There are lots of other things at the Platz, including a Lego store, the Sony Centre, and a place with amazing ice cream:

Himbeer sundae & ...umm... peach sundae.
Himbeer sundae & …umm… peach sundae.

You knew there’d be pictures of food somewhere in this recap, didn’t you (also, I don’t regret taking a bite before taking a picture at all).  If you’re travelling to a foreign place memorizing basic words for food is really helpful.  You might not understand every word on the menu, but you’ll be able to tell what’s beef, what’s chicken, and (more importantly) which dessert has raspberries.

In the above picture, in the top left corner, you can see the Filmhaus – where the Deutsche Kinemathek is located.  Before I went to Germany I started watching German films (so that I’d be more familiar with the language), so it was great to go to this museum.  I didn’t see a lot of German TV, but the film exhibit is really interesting.  I’d highly recommend it if you like german film history.

And while I’m at it, I might as well recommend some German films:

  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – (1920) Francis, a young man, recalls in his memory the horrible experiences he and his fiancée Jane recently went through. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is an exhibit where the mysterious doctor shows the somnambulist Cesare, and awakens him for some moments from his death-like sleep. When Alan asks Cesare about his future, Cesare answers that he will die before dawn. The next morning Alan is found dead, and Francis suspects Cesare.
  • Metropolis – (1927)  In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.  (There are a lot of different versions, but I’d try a version with the original score.)
  • Wings of Desire – (1987) An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.  (Plus, it has Peter Falk in it.)
  • Run Lola Run – (1998) Lola receives a phone call from her boyfriend Manny. He lost 100,000 DM in a subway train that belongs to a very bad guy. Lola has 20 min to raise this amount and meet Manni. Otherwise, he will rob a store to get the money. Three different alternatives may happen depending on some minor event along Lola’s run.
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch – (2001) A transexual punk rock girl from East Berlin tours the US with her rock band as she tells her life story and follows the ex-boyfriend/bandmate who stole her songs. 
  • The Lives of Others – (2006) In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. 

If I missed any, feel free to let me know.

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