September 11, 2009 / 1:16 PM / 9 years ago

Film festival brings Berlin Wall to underground TVs

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - As Germany gears up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a unique film festival is showcasing five short films about the concrete barrier on TVs in the capital’s underground trains.

People look through the a Berlin Wall memorial at the Bernauer Strasse in Berlin, August 13, 2009, after a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the building of the Berlin wall. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

More than 1.5 million passengers will be able to watch the entries, part of the “Going Underground” short-film festival, during their daily rail commute until September 15.

Organizer Fred Kuhaupt said they asked for entries this year that dealt with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the profound change it brought to eastern Europe 20 years ago.

“It’s not easy to deal with this topic in 90 seconds,” Kuhaupt told Reuters.

“The films portray the fall of the Wall not just as an historical event but capture the hope people had back then,” he said, adding the entries, some animations, others with actors, treat the theme differently.

“Hans im Glueck” (Happy Hans), a critical satire, shows East German Hans crossing the border for the first time to buy a “Brandenburger” beefburger — a pun on Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, a monument that symbolizes reunited Germany.

The more somber “Der Freimaurer” (The Freemason) shows a man climbing through an opening in the grey concrete wall slabs to a room covered with colorful magazine pictures that in reality hide more grey wall underneath.

The five films will run non-stop on 4,000 monitors on Friday and Saturday night along with 14 other finalists from 10 different countries including Brazil and Israel.

Passengers can vote for their favorite short film on the website

“Normally we have an award ceremony in a cinema here in Berlin,” said Kuhaupt. “But we’ve had to scale back a bit this year because of the financial crisis. We’re going to give out the awards on the underground instead.”

Reporting by Caroline Copley, editing by Paul Casciato

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