We've seen the Stasi Fashion, but how about the Stasi camera technology & wireless bugs? High resolution photographs from the Stasi Museum.
"There are reasons why this film is obscure. It is, in the most charitable possible evaluation, a mess: Bowie has described it as "my 32 Elvis films rolled into one." And yet life on that ever-dwindling island of not-on-region-one DVD films is a harsh fate for any film and particularly for this one, which is at least as interesting as its cast suggests and a good deal more. You don't need to dig out the VHS player to watch Mick Jagger run an agency of gigolos in The Man From Elysian Fields—you shouldn't have to do so to watch Bowie play one. " David Bowie's Lost 70s-era Weimar Berlin Movie: Just a Gigalo.
Julius Neubronner, born in Germany in 1852, was the son of Wilhelm Neubronner. Wilhelm carried on the family-run pharmacy and had introduced rapid medicine delivery by way of carrier pigeon (Google books). Julius continued the family practice, including pigeon-delivery. As a young boy, Julius was interested in the then-newly invented cameras, and his hobby and his career merged when a once-punctual pigeon took was waylaid a month. Interested to find the source of the delay, Julius placed a miniature camera on the pigeon to see where it went. The effort was successful, and he improved upon the design, patenting a panoramic pigeon-carried camera that resulted in novel photos. Julius is also distinguished as an early German experimenter in amateur silent film. His recordings, including daily life, historic events, and film magic, were restored in 1996 (Google Quickview; original PDF).
Color footage of 1936 Berlin, in what appears to be a promotional film for the city before the 1936 Olympics. (SLYT)
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing — foreign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
While some might believe that Walt Disney had the first feature-length animated film with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937, the Disney film is the fourth animated feature-length film, and was two decades late for first place. The first two animated feature-length films were directed by an Italian in Argentia in 1917 and 1918, though all prints of those films are presumed lost or destroyed. The third animated full-length feature, Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed), came out the same year that the first two were lost to fire. This third animated film was a silhouette animation made by a German artist named Lotte Reiniger. The original negatives are considered lost, but a supposedly first-generation positive (from the camera negative) remains and the film has been restored from this stock (full film with limited subtitles, 5 minute preview with English subtitles and the full film viewable with Veoh plug-in). More information and videos inside. [more inside]
Hitchcock's first in 1925. Kubrick in 1957. Sturges in 1963. Bergman, Huston, Ophüls, and Wilder. Sound of Music in 1965. Willy Wonka in 1971. Also, Monty Python made their Fliegender Zirkus specials there in 1971 and 1972. Film history and all that. Sure. But to my mind, the best part of the Bavarian Film Studios is being able to go inside the actual submarine from Das Boot. Or you can ride on that flying dog thing from Neverending Story... if that's how you roll.
The day after Kristallnacht, Hitler said: "It was necessary not to make propaganda for violence as such, but to explain certain matters of foreign policy to the German people in such a way, that the inner voice of the people all by itself gradually would call for violence." Towards that end, Goebbels commissioned and closely supervised the production of a propaganda documentary titled Der ewige Jude - "The Eternal Jew". Few if any of the inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto who appear in its footage survived the war. [more inside]
Head-On is a riveting 2004 German film which garnered spirited praise and quite a large share of hype. The film went on to win numerous awards. Days after receiving the Golden Bear, some colorful information about the film's female lead broke in the German tabloids and led to a reaction from her traditional Turkish family nearly identical to actions of her eponymous character's parents in the movie. Is this simply a case of life imitating art, or perhaps an inevitable repercussion of casting someone who's life so closely coincides with that of her on screen persona?
Parasitic Subway Projector: High concept German art students cram a Mac mini and a projector into a suitcase and mount it to the side of a subway car with suction cups. The resulting images, projected onto the tunnel walls, make for a fascinating work of public art. [QuickTime] Link via: The Unofficial Mac Weblog
Unless you are German you may not have heard of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, characters created by Karl May. A possible D.I.D. sufferer, he had never set foot in America and began to write his Wild West stories whilst in jail. Popular with readers across Europe, his books have been translated into over thirty different languages. Spaghetti Westerns partly came about because early 60s films [test your knowledge] based on his books, inspired Italian producers to invest in Westerns. His life story was made part of Syberberg's trilogy in 1974.