Silent Films Under the Stars
Bertelsmann and UFA presented cinematic masterpieces from the 1920s
From August 24 to 26, 2016, Bertelsmann and UFA presented open-air screenings of silent film classics with live musical accompaniment in an impressive setting in the heart of Berlin.
The silent film festival, which took place for the sixth time in 2016, has a lot of fans, so all three evenings were completely sold out. The atmospheric backdrop of the Kolonnadenhof in front of Berlin’s Old National Gallery, in combination with the wonderfully mild summer nights, the music specially composed for each film, and, of course, the historic films themselves, made the Film Nights an absolute highlight of Berlin's cultural summer once again.
The Film Nights kicked off with a reception on the rooftop terrace of Bertelsmann’s premises in Berlin hosted by Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe, and UFA Co-CEOs Wolf Bauer and Nico Hofmann. Around 300 prominent actors, creative professionals and notables from politics and society accepted the invitation, including the actors Caroline Peters, Jonas Nay and Daniel Brühl, photographer Jim Rakete, journalist Stefan Aust, writer Michael Jürgs, ARD Director-General Susanne Pfab, and the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Hermann Parzinger.
This year's program:
Wednesday, August 24, 2016: Die Bergkatze (The Wildcat)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Screenplay: Hanns Kräly and Ernst Lubitsch
Camera: Theodor Sparkuhl
Producer: Paul Davidson for Union-Film (UFA)
Actors: Pola Negri, Victor Janson, Paul Heidemann, Marga Köhler, Wilhelm Diegelmann, Edith Meller, Hermann Thimig
Length: 82 min.
Music: Trioglyzerin and the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s JazzCombo
Lieutenant Alexis, a widely beloved womanizer, is banished to the sleepy mountain fortress of Tossenstein. On the way there, he falls into the hands of a gang of bandits led by the notorious Claudius. Claudius's daughter Rischka, called “The Wildcat,” spontaneously falls in love with a picture of the attractive lieutenant.
A detachment of soldiers from the fort sent out on a punitive expedition against the bandits fails disastrously, but the commander is told it was a victory. The liberated Alexis is celebrated as a hero. Meanwhile, Rischka and her bandits sneak into the fortress, loot the cupboards and, disguised as soldiers, take part in the victory festivities.
As a reward for his successful mission against the robbers, the fortress commander wants to give Alexis the hand of his daughter Lilli in marriage. Alexis is not keen. Likewise, “Wildcat” Rischka’s father wants to marry her off to one of his robbers. But the spirited Rischka resists – she wants Alexis at all costs.
Thursday, 25.08.2016: Unheimliche Geschichten (Uncanny Stories)
Director: Richard Oswald
Screenplay: Richard Oswald and Robert Liebmann, based on the stories "The Apparition" by Anselma Heine, "The Hand" by Robert Liebmann, "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe, "The Suicide Club" by Robert Louis Stevenson and "The Haunting” by Richard Oswald
Camera: Carl Hoffmann
Producer: Richard Oswald for Richard Oswald-Film AG
Cast: Conrad Veidt, Anita Berber, Reinhold Schünzel
Length: 99 min.
Music: Northern Lights with frontman and actor Jonas Nay
At midnight in an antiquarian bookshop, three fantastical paintings come to life. Death, the Devil, and a harlot step out of paintings hung on the walls, and each read five horror stories.
1. “The Apparition”: A woman vanishes without trace in a hotel. The hotel management had tried to cover up the fact that she died of the plague.
2. “The Hand”: The hand of a murdered man pursues his murderer from beyond the grave.
3. “The Black Cat”: A man kills his wife and walls up her body in the cellar. His cat, which he accidentally walled in with her, gives him away.
4. “The Suicide Club”: A police detective falls in with a secret society in which the person who draws the Death card must die.
5. “The Haunting”: A man stages a supernatural apparition to scare off his rival.
In the end, the three narrators step back into the picture frames on the walls of the antiquarian bookshop and turn back into paintings...
Friday, August 26, 2016: Der Müde Tod (Destiny)
Director: Fritz Lang
Screenplay: Fritz Lang
Camera: Erich Nitzschmann, Hermann Saalfrank, Fritz Arno Wagner
Producer: Erich Pommer
Cast: Lil Dagover, Walter Janssen, Bernhard Goetzke, and others.
Length: 105 min.
Music: DJ Raphaël Marionneau
A young woman asks Death to bring her dead lover back to life. He leads her into a room full of candles. Their flames are the life-lights of people, which go out when a life comes to an end.
Three candles have already burnt low. If she can save the life of one of three men who are about to die, she will get her lover back. In three visionary episodes set in different places and times - the Orient, Renaissance Italy and imperial China – she experiences the fate and failure of her love. Once again, Death gives her a chance to save the life of her lover if she can save the life of another. But once again she does not succeed. Only when she sacrifices herself by saving a child from the flames are the lovers united in death.