Press Release

Press Release | Berlin, 08/23/2023

UFA Film Nights 2023 Open with Masterful Shadow Plays in Old Berlin

  • The first evening of the silent film festival showcases Arthur Robison’s 1923 expressionist work SCHATTEN.
  • Celebrity guests at the opening reception at Bertelsmann Unter den Linden
  • Bertelsmann and UFA entice fans of silent film to Berlin’s Museum Island for three evenings of open-air cinema and live music

Berlin, August 23, 2023 – To kick off the 13th UFA Film Nights in Berlin, this evening (Wednesday) Bertelsmann and UFA present Arthur Robison’s SCHATTEN, one of the masterpieces of Weimar-era expressionist cinema, as the opening movie. In his silent film, the German-born American Robison masterfully uses light and shadow to tell a story of love and consuming jealousy. The film features a top-notch cast including Fritz Kortner, Ruth Weyher, Gustav von Wangenheim, Alexander Granach, and Fritz Rasp; it premiered in Berlin exactly 100 years ago. SCHATTEN is accompanied by Cameron Carpenter, a world-renowned organist who has been thrilling the international music world for years with his mastery of the organ. Actor Dominique Horwitz will act as the film’s patron, giving an introduction to its historical background on the open-air stage in the Kolonnadenhof courtyard of Berlin’s Museum Island. The UFA Film Nights, which are already nearly sold out, are expected to attract about a thousand silent film fans on each of the three evenings.

On Thursday, one of the first detective stories in German film history will celebrate its premiere in a digitally restored version by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation: Max Mack’s crime comedy WO IST COLETTI? (WHERE IS COLETTI?). The music to the film is provided by Metropolis Orchester Berlin, based on a new composition by Richard Siedhoff. This year’s UFA Film Nights close with the second part of Fritz Lang’s mammoth work DR. MABUSE, DER SPIELER (DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER) from 1922, following on to the screening of the first part at the UFA Film Nights 2022. Moritz von Oswald, musician, music producer, DJ and a pioneer of electronic music, will provide the accompaniment to DR. MABUSE, DER SPIELER II with a sound created especially for the film, live at the mixing console.

Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe says: “The archives contain many silent films that are now a hundred years old or more. Without restoration, digitization, and screenings, they would disappear – both physically and from the public consciousness. With the UFA Film Nights, we are actively contributing to preserving this very special cultural asset. And in doing so, we build a bridge to the present day, as each film is presented with individual live musical accompaniment by renowned musicians, DJs, bands, or orchestras.”

UFA CEO Nico Hofmann adds: “I’m very excited about the opening of this year’s UFA Film Nights, which has already generated a lot of demand. By featuring Fritz Lang, our program is not only entertaining but also, once again, politically topical. We are therefore staying true to the UFA Film Nights tradition of being as relevant to film history as we are to society, and of combining responsibility for our profession with a political stance.”

Before the screening of the opening film starts on Museum Island, Bertelsmann and UFA are hosting a reception for around 300 guests at Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 in Berlin. Actors, cultural personages, and well-known representatives from politics and society are expected to attend. Besides Dominique Horwitz in his capacity as film patron, actors Katharina, Anna and Nellie Thalbach, Johann von Bülow, Adriana Altaras, Anja Kling, Joachim Król, Annika Kuhl, Ralph Herforth, Hans-Werner Meyer, Isabella Parkinson, Ludger Pistor, Uwe Preuss, Max von Pufendorf, and Steffen Schroeder have confirmed their attendance. Singer Max Raabe, Author Thea Dorn, artist Kiki Kausch, director Roland Suso Richter, and renowned cultural dignitaries such as the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger, the Director of the German Opera Berlin Thomas Fehrle, the Director of the Old National Gallery in Berlin Ralph Gleis, the President of the German Cultural Council Prof. Dr. Christian Höppner, and Lavinia Frey, Director of the International Literature Festival Berlin, will also be attending.

For anyone who doesn’t have the opportunity to attend the Film Nights live in Berlin, the movies can be streamed free of charge from around 9:00 p.m. on  and on Bertelsmann and UFA’s social media channels. Following the live streams, the films will remain available on demand for another 24 hours. A gallery of photos from the event will be posted on the dedicated UFA Film Nights website at  . A few tickets are still available for €20 (includes advance booking fee) from  or at any ticket agency in Berlin and Brandenburg.

As a creative content company with a history stretching back nearly 190 years, Bertelsmann is engaged in cultural efforts at various levels. Its “Culture@Bertelsmann” activities are focused on preserving important cultural assets and making them accessible to a broad public, e.g. through digitization or exhibitions and concerts. For many years, Bertelsmann has organized the popular UFA Film Nights, a silent film festival in Berlin, and has repeatedly acted as the main sponsor for the digital restoration of important silent films. The Group also owns the Archivio Storico Ricordi in Milan, which houses a wealth of unique testimonies to 200 years of Italian opera history. Bertelsmann is indexing the archive holdings according to the latest standards and makes thousands of documents, set and costume designs, libretti, and items of business correspondence publicly accessible online. For over 20 years, Bertelsmann has organized the “Blue Sofa” literature format series, which provides authors with a prominent stage for their latest works.

The Schedule at a Glance

Wednesday, August 23, 2023, film starts at 9:00 p.m.
Director: Arthur Robison
Cast: Fritz Kortner, Ruth Weyher, Gustav von Wangenheim, Alexander Granach, Fritz Rasp and others
Production: Pan-Film
Length: 75 min.
Music: Cameron Carpenter on the organ

Thursday, August 24, 2023, film starts at 9:00 p.m.
Director: Max Mack
Cast: Hans Junkermann, Magde Lessing, Heinrich Peer, Anna Müller-Linke and others
Production: Deutsche Vitascope
Length: 79 min.
Music: Metropolis Orchester Berlin based on a new composition by Richard Siedhoff

Friday, August 25, 2023, film starts at 9:00 p.m.
Director: Fritz Lang
Screenplay: Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou
Cast: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede Nissen, Alfred Abel and others
Production: Uco-Film (Ufa)
Length: 118 min.
Music: Moritz von Oswald

UFA Film Nights partners are the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Gegenbauer and Maz&Movie. Ströer, radioeins (rbb) and rbbKultur are the event’s media partners.

About Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the entertainment group RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group, and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 165,000 employees around the world and generated revenues of €20.2 billion in the 2022 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world. Bertelsmann aspires to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.

About UFA
As one of the oldest and most renowned German entertainment brands, UFA presents itself today as a program creator that has continually expanded its market leadership as a film and television producer in Germany over the past years. In so doing, the company has developed into a content specialist and produces innovative programming for German and international broadcasters, partners and platforms. Active beneath the UFA umbrella are the production units UFA Fiction, UFA Serial Drama, UFA Show & Factual and UFA Documentary. UFA is part of the international media and entertainment company Fremantle, responsible for the global production business of the RTL Group, which itself belongs to Bertelsmann. The managing directors of UFA are Nico Hofmann (CEO) und Joachim Kosack.