UFA Film Nights 2018

For three nights in August, Bertelsmann and UFA transformed Museum Island into Berlin's most atmospheric open air cinema.

"The Fiddler of Florence"
Actress Maria Schrader
Actor Rufus Beck with his son, actor Jonathan Beck
Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe with writer Thea Dorn
Actress Lisa Martinek
Prof. Dr. Michael Eissenhauer, Director General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, with Thomas Rabe
Film producer Wolf Bauer
Actress Meike Droste
Actor Stephan Grossmann
Markus Dohle, CEO Penguin Random House
"The Fiddler of Florence" with musical accompaniment by "I solisti di Francoforte"
Pola Negri in "Sumurun"
1000 guest per evening visited the 2018 UFA Film Nights

No words are needed to understand emotions. That is probably one of the reasons why a silent film nearly a century old can still captivate so many people today, in times of 3D and virtual reality. About a thousand culture buffs and cineastes gathered in the Kolonnadenhof on Berlin’s Museum Island to witness the world premiere of the film “The Fiddler of Florence,” digitally restored with Bertelsmann’s support, at the opening of the eighth “UFA Film Nights.” Against the backdrop of Berlin’s atmospherically lit Alte Nationalgalerie under a perfect summer night sky, they watched, with visible enthusiasm, the 1920s coming-of-age drama starring the legendary Elisabeth Bergner in a “cross-dressing” role.

For a long time, “The Fiddler of Florence” was only available in a greatly shortened US version. In the course of the film’s restoration, funded by Bertelsmann and carried out by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation based on an original negative, the missing scenes were reinserted into the film, thus restoring the original narrative structure.

The I solisti di Francoforte ensemble provided the musical accompaniment to last night’s screening of the “Fiddler of Florence.” Playing a violin, a cello, a piano and a trombone, the musicians interpreted music newly composed by Uwe Dierksen specifically for the restored film, commissioned by ZDF/ARTE.

But before the premiere was screened on Museum Island, Bertelsmann and UFA welcomed some 300 guests to a reception at “Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1.” Besides Thomas Rabe, the other Bertelsmann Executive Board members at the event were Chief HR Officer Immanuel Hermreck, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle, and Chief Financial Officer Bernd Hirsch. Among the guests from the worlds of film, culture and society were actors Rufus Beck, Lisa Martinek, Stephan Grossmann -- and Maria Schrader, who introduced the works presented during this year's "UFA Film Nights." Writer Thea Dorn also accepted Bertelsmann and UFA's invitation.

The “UFA Film Nights” continued with Ernst Lubitsch’s “Sumurun” from 1920. In fairy tale of the Orient, the great Pola Negri plays a seductive dancer who turns the head of both a sheikh and his son. The music for the film was played by the Trioglyzerin ensemble.

On the last evening, Nikolai Malikoff’s 1927 gangster comedy “Apaches of Paris” was on the program - in which American puritans on a moralizing mission in the shabby districts of Paris find themselves exposed to all kinds of temptations. The music was provided by the internationally renowned Dutch composer and pianist Maud Nelissen and her band The Sprockets, also with a new composition.