This last weekend I finally did one of the things I wanted to do the most in Berlin: watching a vintage film with a live orchestra at the Babylon cinema. This has been part of my Berlin to do list since Babylon exhibited one of my favourite films, “Metropolis”, from the German director Fritz Lang, with live orchestra a while ago, and I was incredibly upset about not being able to go. Unfortunately I wasn’t in Berlin at the time of the performance.
That is why I’ve immediately bought tickets this time when I got the notification via Instagram. I managed to get tickets for both films available for the Murnau retrospective: the classics “Nosferatu” (1922) and “The last laugh” (1924). Both are representatives of the German Expressionism movement, a very important phase of Cinema History.
Besides the marvellous performance, I thought the way the orchestra’s musicians were dressed up was absolutely perfect, and the majestic entrance from the Maestro for the film “Nosferatu” also deserves to be mentioned (no more details so you are surprised when you see it). I also loved the fact that the Maestro explained the importance of both films for Cinema History, adding some context to the presentation. Furthermore, the letter cards had English translation, which made all difference from my perspective. The old German words and the antique lettering make them a bit difficult to read, so I was really happy to see the English subtitles.
An interesting fact about both films is that the effects and details are seen today as basic or even be overlooked by the audience, but at the time they changed the way cinema was made. “Nosferatu”, for instance, was one of the first horror films in history, and “The last laugh” brought innovations on the way the camera was used to create a zoom effect and cause impact, which is also one of the characteristics of his contemporary, Alfred Hitchcock.
There are lots of reasons to watch a presentation by the Metropolis Orchestra and the best news is that the “Nosferatu” presentation was so successful that Babylon has invited them to play again on the 18th of November. If you are in Berlin this weekend, please do buy the tickets now before they are sold out again. I am sure you will have an amazing night filled with high-quality music, lots of Cinema History and all of this inside a historical and beautiful building like the Babylon.
Babylon is located at Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 30, 10178 Berlin. The tickets cost 22 euros.