Beyond Your Wildest Dreams: Weimar Cinema 1919-1933
Groundbreaking, imaginative, innovative and astonishingly modern: welcome to the dreamscapes and nightmares of this creative era.
The star attraction (Dietrich) of The Blue Angel beer hall can lead many a man astray…
A cinema with international ambition, experimenting in a range of genres.
'Haunted screen' horror puts German cinema on the world map.
Gender-bending farces, rags to riches fantasies, sparking musicals.
The modern metropolis of Weimar cinema – thrilling and threatening.
Sexuality unleashed; rebellious women; new ways of living.
Polarised politics; social divisions; conflicting values.
Talks and events
Sight & Sound editor Nick James chairs a discussion about an influential era of film criticism.
Discover this restless, forward-thinking creative with rare screenings and a special restoration.
Join us for a day of enlightening and entertaining talks from our invited experts.
Sounds of Weimar Cinema day
Explore Weimar cinema through our world-famous library collection.
Part 1 (May)
“Expressionism is a game... but why not? Everything today is a game”
Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler
Revolutionary chaos, economic turmoil, the collapse of authority: such was the shock experienced by Germans in the turbulent aftermath of WWI. In the fast-paced, unstable Weimar Republic, cinema was the latest sensation, a dream machine for a new mass audience. Thanks to brilliant aesthetic and technical innovations, Germany’s film industry was second only to Hollywood, conjuring extraordinary visions: dystopian cities, Alpine adventures, depraved nightclubs. And in its famous brand of ‘haunted screen’ horror, the darkest recesses of the human psyche found visible form. Yet nightmares were only part of the dreamscape. Part one of our two-month survey celebrates the sheer diversity of styles and genres from this groundbreaking era of German cinema. Most surprising is the wealth of comedies, largely driven by Jewish talent. From gender-bending farces to sparkling musicals, their energy and charm are irresistible.
Part 2 (June)
“Whose tomorrow is tomorrow? Who owns the world?”
Kuhle Wampe (Solidarity Song)
Weimar cinema wasn’t just dazzling entertainment, it also sought to change the world, writes season programmer Margaret Deriaz In the turmoil following WWI, Germany was searching for new ways forward. In life and in art, this was an era of limitless possibilities, and its films conjure visions of sexual freedom, rebellious women and hedonistic youth. Berlin was now the world's third-largest city – an icon of glittering modernity and dangerous depravity, inspiring edgy urban dramas; some belonged to a new brand of satirical realism (dubbed ‘New Objectivity’), which cast a cool eye on contemporary life, blighted by poverty and corruption. But even films in historical settings were really addressing current controversies. Throughout this period of polarised politics – increasingly overshadowed by the rise of Nazism – Weimar cinema posed vital questions. From an early plea for gay rights to stirring critiques of the capitalist system, it still speaks urgently to our concerns. These are dreams which warn and inspire.
Season ticket offer: 3 films for £30 (no concs). Use promo code ‘Weimar’ when booking.
With special thanks to:
Deutsche Kinemathek and International Film Festival Berlin
And with the kind support of: