Quinn Pictures • Jonathan Quinn

An approach.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Berlin: 2006

Three vintage photographs purchased at the Tiergarten flea market.

Like many museums, the Filmmuseum Berlin-Deutsche Kinemathek's permanent exhibition is arranged in a chronology —moving from decade to decade, from room to room. The first few rooms are dedicated to the early pioneers of German cinema including Max Skladanowsky and Oskar Messter. The exhibition then moves through the Weimar period -from Caligari to the works of Lubitsch, Murnau, Fritz Lang and Pabst. And, the legendary screen stars that colaborated with them, including Emil Jannings, Peter Lorre, Louise Brooks

The room dedicated to the war years is called: Film under National Socialism (1933–1945) In this bright aluminum-paneled room, video monitors, suspended from the ceiling, play period-melodramas. --escapist entertainment intent on soothing a troubled populace. Included in a list of period stars is Lilian Harvey whose association with Jewish colleagues and her emigration to France (then Hollywood) caused her to fall into disfavor with the Nazi regime.

Along the walls of the room are small flat-files. Within the spring-loaded drawers small video monitors play Nazi propaganda not permitted (by law) to play in public. The drawers must be held open in order to watch the films. The viewer is engaged in the projection-process, forcing the film to play. Release the handle and the screen goes blank and back into its place.

"The drawers in this room are not only reminiscent of an archive, but also of a morgue."

The Museum is located within the Sony Center.

The exact location of Hitler's Bunker has purposely been diffused into an intersection of an office building, a parking lot and a playground. Three years ago (on my visit) it was intentionally unmarked. The rationale for keeping it obscure had to do with a fear of it becoming a place of Nazi veneration.

As I walked through the intersections I followed two different english-speaking tour groups --both mis-directing the location of the bunker.

After returning home, I learned that the local government decided to go ahead and identify the bunker's location. Apparently, tales of the bunker were becoming mythic. Its size, shape and exact location were subject to the whims of imagination.