Thematic Series


Co-sponsored by ICESTORM International, Inc.



Thematic Groupings and Suggestions for Further Viewing:


Rebuilding the Defeated, Occupied and Divided City

  • Story of a Young Couple
  • Somewhere in Berlin
  • The Murderers Are Among Us


Youth and Rebel Films

  • The Architects 
  • Berlin Around the Corner
  • A Berlin Romance
  • Berlin, Schönhauser Corner 
  • Born in '45
  • Carla
  • Just Don't Think I'll Cry
  • The Rabbit is Me

Love Divided

  • Divided Heaven
  • A Berlin Romance


Poetic Reunification Imaginary

  • The All-round Reduced Personality
  • The Wall
  • Divided Heaven
  • The Architects

Berlin, Divided Heaven

From the Ice Age to the Thaw

Premiere 1999


The city of Berlin has had a history unlike any other. Early in the century it was a world center of modernism, later the capital of Hitler's Third Reich. Then, after the city was virtually destroyed by war, the iron curtain was drawn through it. Berlin became a microcosm of the Cold War, as the capital of communist German Democratic Republic in the East, and an island city of West Germany, "cut off" from the Federal Republic. The fall of the Wall in 1989 and subsequent unification of Germany the following year began a new and challenging age for Berlin, now the capital of a "new Germany." While this change challenged all Germans, those from the East were most radically affected, as their country no longer existed.


The series “Berlin, Divided Heaven: From the Ice Age to the Thaw” brings together an intriguing selection of films that address Berlin divided and united. The films in this collection offer a variety of perspectives on the history and people of this dynamic city, from the Berlin Airlift and the post-war openness of the divided city, to poetic images that reflect on urban identities East and West and the architectural effects of unification turmoil. They present a view of Berlin and its Cold War division primarily from the Eastern point of view. This aspect of cinematic and cultural history is little known outside Eastern Germany, therefore an understanding of this region -- where German unification has brought the most profound changes -- will contribute to a more complete picture of what Germany is today.  


The program was put together in 1999 and ran its primary circuit in 2000, in coordination with our second international conference, "The Power of Images: Representing Germany Ten Years After Reunification." One goal of the series was to help audiences across the US and Canada appreciate the cultural and historical context of the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification. The emphasis on the division and reunification of the city of Berlin also allows for fascinating connections with both broader German cinematic traditions in which Berlin played a central role, and German political history -- once again centered on Berlin as the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.  

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