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Berlin - Symphony of a Great City (1927) DVD

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Berlin - Symphony of a Great City (1927)


Walter Ruttmann (as Walther Ruttmann)


Karl Freund (screenplay), Carl Mayer (idea)


Paul von Hindenburg
This classic German documentary is a valentine to the "new" Berlin of the late 1920s, enjoying a renaissance after the dregs of the Depression. Director Walter Ruttman's five-reel symphony begins at dawn and ends at midnight, showing Berliners at hard work by day and enjoying the city's boisterous nightlife. Essentially a feature-length montage--one shot of pedestrians is followed by a brief clip of a cow herd--the film was heavily influenced by the earlier works of Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov, and was itself very influential in fostering the "city symphony" or "opus" genre (excellent examples of which included Holland's 1929 Rain and Sweden's 1947 Stockholm: Rhythm of a City). There is also a large degree of poignancy in recording the everyday affairs of a city so far from and yet so near to the Nazi nightmare.
Here is the link to the movie at the Internet Movie database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017668/?ref_=nv_sr_1

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  1. awesome experimental documentary achievement 5 Star Review

    Posted by on Jul 4th 2015

    BERLIN: SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY is a thrilling exposition of life in Berlin during the late 1920s when the Weimar Republic still existed. Filmed over the course of many months, it was edited to appear a record of events within a single day, from daybreak to around midnight. Sporting events, lunch break, shop openings, commuter transit rushes, an afternoon downpour, all are faithfully recorded without commentary. The original accompanying music score by Edmund Meisel (or else a suitable replacement) is provided and offers a splendid sonic ambience throughout. Highly recommended, a milestone in cinema history.

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