A Berlin Romance

(Eine Berliner Romanze)

GDR, 1956, 81 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)


Mid-1950s Berlin, before the building of the Wall. Uschi, a salesgirl and aspiring fashion model from the East, is attracted to Hans, from the West. But she also loves the bright shop windows in his part of the city. The flashiness of this new world soon evaporates, however, when Hans loses his job.


Inspired by Italian neorealism and shot on location in East and West Berlin, this cross-border romance precisely depicts daily life in the divided city before the Wall. It is now considered one of the most accurate portrayals of the Cold War Berlin youth scene during the 1950s. The film’s frank images of youthful dreams and longings found little support among East German officials, who thought it encouraged East German young people to search for adventure in West Germany.


A Berlin Romance is one of the “Berlin Films” series, along with Alarm at the CircusBerlin - Schönhauser Corner, and Berlin Around the Corner, made by director Gerhard Klein and scriptwriter Wolfgang Kohlhaase.


2006 Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival
1991 Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival

Press comments

“Combining Kohlhaase's vivid screenplays with Klein's fascination with re-creating the textures of daily life. This is today regarded as among the most definitive records of postwar Berlin.”


“A sociological and documentary staging of the urban scene.”
— German Historical Museum, Berlin


“The black-and-white cinematography, with its carefully composed chiaroscuro, is striking and convincing. … Even the smell of Berlin seems to have been captured.”
— Horst Claus, DEFA: East German Cinema 1946-1992


“The film provides a fascinating portrait of life in the modern metropolis.”
— Leonie Naughton, film historian


“[A film] by the most significant living German screenwriter.”


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