IN BERLINIn this film, Michael Ballhaus and Ciro Cappellari trace the changes that have taken place in Berlin and try to encapsulate on screen the energy of a city that, twenty years after the fall of the Wall, has found a new kind of normality. This documentary is also a heartfelt declaration of love to a fascinating metropolis and its people. In their poetic, cinematic essay, the filmmakers encounter personalities for whom Berlin, with its unique setting, is the only place to realise their dreams; in doing so, they reinvent themselves – and the city – every day. Their encounter with their protagonists’ projects and activities gives the two cineastes an opportunity to explore the New Berlin.
During the course of this documentary, celebrities and unknowns alike show the two directors their very own Berlin and provide the viewer with an insight into their lives. Among those appearing in the film are Turkish film student Hakan Savas Mican and Germany’s Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier; also sharing their thoughts with us are political talk show host Maybrit Illner and techno club owner Dimitri Hegemann, writer Peter Schneider and disabled actor Nele Winkler, Turkish kiosk owner Ercan Ergin and the proprietors of Graft, a Berlin architectural firm, fashion designers Clara Leskovar and Doreen Schulz and their label C.Neeon; Berlin’s Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit also puts in an appearance as do musician Alexander Hacke and artist Danielle de Picciotto.
The city is in a permanent state of flux, as are the people who live in it. The filmmakers make use of this motion, translating it into the visual style of their film. The conversations with their protagonists evolve from each particular situation and often involve some form of movement, such as walking or travelling. The documentarians return to their protagonists several times during the film, looking in on the development of their projects. And there is no telling how they will turn out – will their ideas sink or swim?