Project team:

Client: Hans-Joachim Flebbe, Premium Entertainment
Budget: 5.5 mio. euros
Cinema architecture and artistic lighting concept: Maske + Suhren
Technical lighting design, custom luminaires and installation: Eduard Henke, Freilicht! Gmbh
Facade lighting: LichtKunstLicht


Products applied:

Approx. 4000 running metres of RGBW LED ribbon
PWM dimmer – Soundlight
Custom luminaires starry sky:
RGBW LEDs with 30 and 60 degree optics
Lighting control of overall system, central computer and
components – e:cue
Programming: Malte Seseman

23. Mar 2014

The Zoo Palast in Berlin/D
Searching for the soul of cinema

Text: Moritz Gieselmann
Photos: Jan Bitter

Berlin in the fifties: the people are still not quite sure if 1945 meant freedom or defeat. As a consequence of the Cold War the east and west sectors of the city begin to develop separately, divided by the politics of the key location of Berlin: side by side, there is evidence of hope for a better, more modern future and fear of a continuing war between east and west. The traumata left by the Nazi era and the Second World War are still too recent to warrant them being discussed openly – it will take another ten years before student activism brings that to the streets.

In the classic film, the hero faces all dangers and challenges on behalf of the audience and is able to solve any problems he is confronted with, thus presenting the attentive cinema-goer with examples of how to resolve his own conflicts. Cinema in post-war Berlin was a place for people to escape to sporadically from their cramped living spaces and the scenes of debris left by the bombs, a place where even the most desperate of stories was bound to conclude with a happy end, a wonderful space in which to lose oneself in better worlds.
By May 1945 30 cinemas had opened in Berlin. By 1947 there were over 200. The Berliners were nothing less than cinema-crazy. Since the “German Reich’s Minister for Public Enlightenment und Propaganda”, Goebbels, had indoctrinated the German public with his films for twelve years, at the start of the Cold War both East and West pinned their hopes on the power of “the movies”. The Defa Studios were founded in the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany, and the Americans in the West relied on the inspiration radiated by films produced in Hollywood to familiarise the German people with the idea of democracy and the so-called American way of life.
In 1951, at the initiative of the Americans, the Berlinal was founded, an international film festival under the motto “Window to the free world”. The people of Berlin were highly impressed and turned up in crowds to see the films. The array of international stars aroused attention and excitement and West Berlin was plunged into traffic chaos.
In the fifties, cinema was in its heyday. Only when television entered the scene in the sixties did it witness any kind of rivalry. New cinemas were built everywhere and a young architect by the name of Gerhard Fritsche became known as one of the most sought-after specialists in the field. The first cinema he was commissioned to build he happened on more or less by chance when he was rebuilding the “Berliner Kindl Bräu” tavern on Kurfürstendamm in 1948. […]
The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 92
And our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store) contains a media-enhanced version.

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