One of the highlights of the summer in Berlin is the open air cinema season. There are dozens of ‘Freiluftkinos’ across the city – in parks, squares, by the river and in courtyards. Chairs are provided as well as light blankets in many cases and there are food and drink facilities on hand too. Watching the latest releases as well as old classics under a starry sky on a warm Berlin night is really the stuff memories are made of so take a look through our list of our favourite Freiluftkinos and sign yourself up for some movie magic.
The interesting circular building you see on the corner of Kurfürstendamm and Joachimstaler Strasse as you leave the hotel is the Kranzler Eck – a historic coffee house that was a favourite hang out for the cool Bohemian set in pre war Berlin. The original building was destroyed during the war but today’s version is a shopping precinct that includes open air film screenings in the rear courtyard for a few weeks every summer. The season launches on Thursday 18th August and closes on Sunday 4th September. Films are all in german with no subtitles and a mixture of local classics and Hollywood blockbusters. Check out the program here on their website. Entry is sign posted somewhere between H&M and Vodaphone or you can walk through the arcade next door to access the Kranzler courtyard.
The Yorcke Kinogruppe has a few beautiful classic old cinemas around the city but they also host the Summerkino at Potsdamer Platz’s Kulturforum. In the elegant surrounds of the Philharmonie and the Neue National Galerie, you can enjoy a selection of international mostly arthouse films with a variety of language options for the foreigners amongst us. Tickets are available online and this one is very popular in good weather so get there early to get a good seat. Program available here on their website.
Ever surprising and unique to Berlin, you may spot the Mobile Kino bicycle riding around the city sometime. This versatile little operation hosts pop up film screenings at various locations and also hosts an annual festival by a lake with films and camping and general chilled out vibes. The operators are committed to screenings in unusual locations – with atmosphere being half the fun and often the faces behind the films on hand for Q&A sessions. Food and drinks stalls are usually on hand and chairs or lovely grassy lawns to sit on. Check their website for more information and their Facebook page for upcoming screenings.
A note about watching movies in Berlin – movies are shown in original language in many cases, with German and sometimes English subtitles. A style that seems to be unique to German screenings is the overdubbing of non German films into German. The original audio is muted and local german actors voice the role instead. Yes there is in fact ‘the German Tom Cruise’ and ‘the German Meryl Streep’. If the voice of your favourite Hollywood star is a beloved part of the experience for you then try to avoid these screenings (usually marked OV).
All the open air cinemas have online programs and you can find out language information in the listing of the movie itself. Usually in the detail about screening time, movie length and country of origin, you will see a code that indicates the language options for the screening. OmU means the film will screen in its original language and with German subtitles, OV means the original version with no subtitles and OMeU means the original version with English subtitles. If there’s no code by the listing then chances are it’s OV and for the pleasure of German speakers only.