Press Release

Press Release | Berlin, 07/15/2021

UFA Film Nights Live on Berlin’s Museum Island Again

  • From August 25 to 27, 2021: legendary silent films with exclusive musical accompaniment.
  • Program features three masterpieces of cinema history: CARMEN, THE LIGHT OF ASIA, and NOSFERATU
  • World premiere: Bertelsmann main sponsor of the digital restoration of the opening film, CARMEN
  • New concept: All three films can also be viewed on demand on the Internet.
  • Music by ensemble KONTRASTE, Silent Light Orchestra, and international organ virtuoso Cameron Carpenter
  • Tickets now on sale

Berlin, July 15, 2021 – Back in the open air and with a live audience: After last year’s digital edition, the UFA Film Nights will once again be held on Berlin’s Museum Island this year. On the three evenings of August 25 to 27, 2021, Bertelsmann and UFA will present masterpieces of Weimar filmmaking, all of which have made international cinema history, in the open air, against a spectacular backdrop, and accompanied by live music. The silent film festival will also take place online at the same time, with live streams, a relaunched website and digital program information.

This year’s UFA Film Nights kick off with Ernst Lubitsch’s CARMEN, loosely adapted from Georges Bizet’s opera of the same name, and Lubitsch’s first major production. Because of its opulence and Pola Negri’s brilliance as an actress, the film caused a worldwide sensation at the time under the alternative title GYPSY BLOOD. CARMEN has been extensively digitally restored by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation with financial support from Bertelsmann. This cinematic gem is now being presented to the public again for the first time in a largely completed cut and with reconstructed color. On Museum Island, the ensemble Kontraste will accompany the film with a new composition by Tobias Schwencke, commissioned by ZDF/Arte.

The second evening will feature the oriental fairy tale DIE LEUCHTE ASIENS (THE LIGHT OF ASIA) by Franz Osten. It was the first collaboration between German and Indian filmmakers and also India’s first ever international co-production. The Silent Light Orchestra will thrill the audience with oriental soundscapes to match the movie. The Silent Light Orchestra was formed from members of the Trioglyzerin ensemble and the Ekkehard Wölk Quartet, both formations that have lent musical enchantment to previous UFA Film Nights.

The third evening is dedicated to Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s classic NOSFERATU. The “mother of all horror films” will be accompanied by the world-famous organist Cameron Carpenter, whose virtuoso organ performances have delighted the international music world for years.

Tickets are now available for €20 (includes advance booking fee) at  .

All films start at 9:00 p.m. Admission from / Gates open at 7:30 p.m. The Corona regulations in force for the event are posted at  .

All three films will also be streamed live and free of charge on the specially redesigned website at  . Afterwards, the films will remain available on demand until 9:00 p.m. the following day and will also be accessible via the social media channels of the UFA Film Nights as well as Bertelsmann and UFA.

Bertelsmann has been sponsoring restorations of Weimar cinema classics for several years. In 2015, for example, the company assisted the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation in digitally restoring the expressionist film classic DAS CABINET DES DR. CALIGARI (THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI) by Robert Wiene (1920), thereby preserving it for future generations. Also thanks to digital restoration, DER MÜDE TOD (DESTINY, 1921) a silent film by master director Fritz Lang, returned to the screen in all its former glory in 2016, almost a century after it was made. Its restoration was likewise realized by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation as the rights holder and funded by Bertelsmann as the main sponsor. This was followed in 2018 by the romantic adventure DER GEIGER VON FLORENZ (THE FIDDLER OF FLORENCE). Produced by Ufa in 1925, the film, which until then had only been available in a shortened version, was elaborately, digitally restored to its original length by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation with financial support from Bertelsmann. And finally, this year sees the world premiere of the restored version of Ernst Lubitsch’s CARMEN. With Bertelsmann’s support, the epic is now available again in a largely completed edited version with reconstructed coloring.

The program at a glance

Wednesday, August 25, 2021, film starts at 9:00 p.m.

CARMEN / GYPSY BLOOD (1918), directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Screenplay: Norbert Falk, Hanns Kräly
With Pola Negri, Harry Liedtke, Leopold von Ledebur, Grete Diercks, Paul Biensfeldt, Paul Conradi, Max Kronert, Margarete Kupfer, Heinrich Peer, Wilhelm Diegelmann.
Production: PAGU (Paul Davidson)
Length: 94 min.
Music: New composition by Tobias Schwencke based on motifs from Georges Bizet’s eponymous opera, commissioned by ZDF/Arte. Performed by the ensemble KONTRASTE

Thursday, August 26, 2021, film starts at 9:00 p.m.

DIE LEUCHTE ASIENS / THE LIGHT OF ASIA (1925), directed by Franz Osten
Screenplay: Niranjan Pal
With Sarada Ukil, Himansu Rai, Profulla Chandra, Seeta Devi, Rani Bala, Sunit Mitter, Jagit Mathur, Sundar Rajam, Nolini Kumari
Production: Emelka Group, Himansu Rai, Peter Ostermayr
Length: 97 min.
Music: Silent Light Orchestra

Friday, August 27, 2021, film starts at 9:00 p.m.

NOSFERATU (1921/22), directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Screenplay: Henrik Galeen
With Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Ruth Landshoff, Georg Heinrich Schnell, John Gottowt, Gustav Botz, Max Nemetz
Production: Prana-Film, Albin Grau, Enrico Dieckmann
Length: 94 min.
Music: Cameron Carpenter (organ)

UFA Film Nights partners: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation, arte, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, and Gegenbauer. radioeins and rbbKultur are the event’s official media partners.

About Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, 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 around 130,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.3 billion in the 2020 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. In 2021, Bertelsmann commemorates the 100th birthday of Reinhard Mohn, the Group's late post-war founder and longtime Chairman and CEO.

About UFA
UFA is one of Germany’s oldest and most distinguished entertainment brands, and today presents itself as a high-performance program creator that has continuously expanded its market leadership as a film and TV producer in Germany in recent years. In the process, the company has evolved from a program creator and TV producer into a content specialist offering solutions for digital and multimedia content exploitation - for all major broadcasters in Germany as well as for numerous other partners. The production units UFA Fiction, UFA Serial Drama, UFA Show & Factual and UFA Documentary operate under the UFA umbrella. UFA is part of the global media and entertainment company Fremantle, the worldwide production arm of RTL Group, part of Bertelsmann. The managing directors of UFA are Nico Hofmann (CEO) and Joachim Kosack.