In the course of our daily reporting, we often uncover unusual projects, places, or connections that don't make the final cut. Instead of keeping it to ourselves, we're pleased to share our weekly Architrivia.
On January 10, 1927, Filmstudio Babelsberg released Metropolis, Fritz Lang's hyper-stylized dystopian masterpiece and set the gold standard for German Expressionist Cinema, not to mention modern science fiction, for generations to come. Largely a product of the Golden Age of the Weimar Republic, during which time Berlin became a cultural hotbed for jazz, art, and film, the studio was and continues to be the largest film studio in Europe. Its 270,000 square feet have historically rivaled the largest Hollywood studios from its opening in 1912 right up to WWII.
Over the course of the 20th century, Filmstudio Babelsberg would go on to release a series of groundbreaking cinematic masterpieces including Marlene Dietrich's first feature film, The Blue Angel (1930), Leni Riefenstahl's masterful if overtly propagandistic Triumph of the Will (1935), and much more recently, a string of modern blockbusters including The Pianist (2002), Inglorious Basterds (2009), The Book Thief (2013), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), all of which benefited from the existence of the massive Berlin cityscape set that dominates much of the studio grounds.
Visitors to the adjacent Filmpark Babelsberg, a movie-based theme park complete with sets and artefacts from the history of film, along with daily stunt and pyrotechnic demonstrations, can explore the past, present, and future of German Cinema. The studio and park are both located in Potsdam, just 30 minutes outside of Berlin either by car or train.
A must-see for film buffs and lovers of the art of cinema, no visit to the city is complete without an excursion to Filmstudio Babelsberg and Filmpark Babelsberg, where a selfie taken alongside the life-sized statue of "Maria" the star of Metropolis is more than worth the price of admission.
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