The 5 German film museums (Filmmuseum) every Expat should visit


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While movie theaters in Germany might still be closed due to the pandemic, you can still visit the following 5 film museums (Filmmuseum) in Germany for some film history.

Germany has a thriving film culture. To experience the rich history and culture, all you have to do is visit a “Filmmuseum”. The following 5 film museums invite its visitors into the world of film. Find out more about the 5 film museums that every Expat in Germany has to visit.

In Germany there are 6 institutions that call themselves a film museum:

  1. Filmmuseum München – Cinematheque with an international reputation. Continuous film program, the strong exchange with international archives enables access to rare films. Occasionally exhibitions.
  2. Filmmuseum Potsdam – Opened as the “Film Museum of the GDR”, the permanent exhibition is dedicated to the history of DEFA, the central film studio of the GDR (East Germany). Many of their films were made on the premises of the nearby Babelsberg studios, as were those of the previous production company UFA (until 1945), which are also extensively recognized. Special exhibitions, own cinema with historical cinema organ.
  3. Deutsches Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main – In addition to the permanent exhibition on the pre- / early / history of film, numerous special exhibitions, which are thematically supplemented by the cinema located in the same building (a communal cinema, also has a cinema organ).
  4. Filmmuseum Düsseldorf – As a “school of vision”, it sets strong accents on film content without leaving out the technology. Special exhibitions. The Black Box cinema with a cinema organ from 1929 is located in the house.
  5. Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen in Berlin – Prior to 2001, it was referred to as the Filmmuseum Berlin. Presents parts of the collection of the Deutsche Kinemathek Foundation (since 1963) in the Filmhaus on Potsdamer Platz , where the “ Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art e. V. ”, the affiliated distributors , the DFFB (Berlin Film Academy ) and an extensive film library can be found. Instead of the technical basics of the projection (which can logically be seen in the Technikmuseum Berlin), there is a strong reference to content and people (the focus of the permanent exhibition is the Marlene Dietrich estate) with dangling to film tricks (area to stop motion specialist Ray Harryhausen ), numerous special exhibitions.
  6. The Bendestorf Filmmuseum – Located on the historic Bendestorf film site, where almost 100 full-length feature films and film series were made between 1947 and 2005.

Below is a look at the top 5 film museums (Filmmuseum) in Germany that you should immediately consider visiting:

1. Filmmuseum München

Overview Filmmuseum München
1963 as the Photography and Film Department of the Münchner Stadtmuseum
In the former Royal Stables building of the Münchner Stadtmuseum
Contains approximately 5,000 copies of films
Seats 165 people and offers top sound and (digital) film technology, and a silver screen that is also suitable for 3D films.
Notable films
The Joyless Street,” “Metropolis,” “The Golem” and “The Loves of Pharaoh,” as well as unfinished fragments of movies from the estate of Orson Welles.
German and Soviet silent movies, early talkies and multilingual movies, avantgarde classics, and productions by Munich filmmakers such as Herbert Achternbusch, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel.
Comprehensive retrospectives, theme-related film series, selected premieres and silent movies

Located in: Stadtcafé Latienne Gaststättenbetriebs- GmbH

Address: Sankt-Jakobs-Platz 1, 80331 Munich

Phone: 089 23396450

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on

Wednesday eveningOpen!: Every 2nd Wednesday of the month, selected exhibitions in the Munich City Museum are open until 8 p.m.

Filmmuseum – screenings: Tuesday – Sunday 7:00 p.m. Other times in case of excessive length

2. Filmmuseum Potsdam

Overview  Filmmuseum Potsdam
In 1912 making it the oldest film museum in Germany
Since 1981 the museum has resided in the Marstall (Royal Stables) next to the Brandenburg State Parliament. The baroque building was erected in 1685 as an electoral orangery and has since transformed overtime for different purposes.
Films from the Babelsberg film studios (from 1911/12 to today). 
The film museum has seven themed rooms present valuable original exhibits, films and stories about filmmakers from 100 years. At interactive modules visitors may witness how to act in a casting and how to cut a film.
Notable films
Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel, starring Marlene Dietrich and other internationally acclaimed and successful movies like Inglourious Basterds, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Bridge of Spies and many more
The museum´s cinema offers film series with international guests as well as silent films accompanied with live performances at the Welte cinema organ. The large, growing collections on German film history are a treasure trove for numerous scientists and the interested public.

The materials and objects on film in the GDR, especially on DEFA, are particularly unique and extensive. The history of film technology in Germany is represented by a rich collection, including relevant publications.

Changing exhibitions open up a wide range of media topics or shed light on the lives of international acting legends such as Romy Schneider or Charlie Chaplin. The in-house cinema invites you to a series of films with international guests or silent film screenings with live accompaniment on the Welte cinema organ.

Located in: Institut der Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF

Address: Breite Str. 1A, 14467 Potsdam

Phone: 0331 2718112

Opening times: Museum: daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Cinema: Mon. to Wed. 6 p.m., 8 p.m.; Thu. to Sun. 6 pm, 8 pm, 10 pm

Film café: Tue to Sun. from 12 p.m. to midnight

3. Deutsche Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main

Overview  Deutsches Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main
On the Schaumainkai in Frankfurt am Main. It is housed in a listed historic villa on the banks of the Main, which was rebuilt according to plans by the architect Helge Bofinger (born 1940), it houses the municipal cinema, which has been in existence since 1971, and is one of the first municipal cinemas founded in Germany.
The (temporary) exhibitions shown at the start include a presentation of drawings by the Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (1920–1993) and a show on the work of the German experimental filmmaker couple Werner Nekes (1944–2017) and Dore Oberloskamp (born 1946 ). Works by the French film pioneer Georges Méliès (1861–1938) from the 19th century are on the program.

The DFF has one of the world’s most extensive collections of film-related material systematically relevant to film history such as photos, posters, reviews, books and magazinescollected and archived. In addition, there is a large inventory of film technology equipment, the graphic collections with original drawings and drafts by important film architects, scenographers and costume designers.
On two floors and an area of ​​around 800 square meters, the exhibition focuses on the medium of film, its physical principles and aesthetic effects.
Notable films
The DFF is dedicated to the medium of film, the past and present, aesthetics and effects of which it presents in a variety of ways in exhibitions and in the in-house cinema.

Located in: DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum

Address: Schaumainkai 41, 60596 Frankfurt am Main

Phone: 069 961220220

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cafe: Currently under construction but will be opened in autumn 2021

4. Filmmuseum Düsseldorf

Overview  Filmmuseum Düsseldorf
In 1993
The film museum is located on the site of the former city prison from the 18th century. Today, visitors to the building at the Old Harbor get to know the history and present of German and international film.
Around 6,500 film copies are stored in the film archive. As the only film museum in North Rhine-Westphalia, it also houses the state’s film collection.

The collections include around 500,000 photos, well over 25,000 posters, plus press booklets, newspaper clippings, reviews, film programs and scripts / dialogue lists for domestic and foreign films as well as production documents. The inventory also includes bequests from Lotte Reiniger , Helmut Käutner, Wolfgang Staudte, Harry Piel , Rolf Burgmer and Liesl Karlstadt . 

The shadow play collection is also a special feature . It contains around 500 shadow play figures from the 13th to 19th centuries on the history of shadow play, as well as props, accessories and a shadow play stage.
In the permanent exhibition, living film history is conveyed on 2200 square meters and a selection of rare technical devices, especially from the prehistory and early history of cinematography, is presented.

It also has a cinema hall on the ground floor, the black box with 135 seats. It houses one of the last Welte cinema organs (built in 1928), which is used in silent film screenings. The cinema program consists of film classics, thematic retrospectives and current premieres.
Notable films
Once a month, BLACK BOX also delights lovers of silent films with selected classics, which are always accompanied by live music.
The temporary special exhibitions are devoted to various topics and aspects of German and international film history. On the one hand, the focus is on individual filmmakers and, on the other, interdisciplinary subjects that relate the developments in film to social processes or artistic trends.
Filmfest Düsseldorf, Tickfilm Festival, Fiktiva – Media Art Festival

Located in: Filmmuseum Düsseldorf

Address: Schulstraße 4, 40213 Düsseldorf

Phone: 0211 8992232

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday : 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Holidays : 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

5. Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Filmmuseum Berlin)

Overview  Filmmuseum Berlin
Located at the Filmhaus on Potsdamer Platz which combines the television museum and the film museum in the film house.
The exhibition rooms of the Filmmuseum show visitors a fantastic journey through 100 years of German film history from the beginnings of choppy silent films, through the beginnings of talkies, UFA animal films from 1931 in color to our current situation with regard to the new media.
Moving images are captured in halls of mirrors with light installations and surprising passages. Stroll through impressive rooms where you greet the oversized portraits of film and television greats, past countless posters, costumes and props from old films.
Notable films
New productions such as the successful films Run Lola Run or The Lives of Others expand the exhibition. In the television museum you can look forward to the pictures of the final of the 1954 soccer World Cup, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German reunification celebrations and the 2014 soccer World Cup
The Museum für Film und Fernsehen illustrates more than 100 years of German film history and 50 years of German television history. In its permanent exhibition, the Film Museum shows the exhibits from German film history, including the time of National Socialism, where the films were produced in Hollywood. 

The museum shines with a large number of film posters, photos, film costumes and props from the films. A main focus is also dedicated to the well-known German actress Marlene Dietrich, because she also made a large number of exhibits from her own private collection available.

Located in: Sony Store Berlin

Address: Potsdamer Strasse 2, 10785 Berlin

Phone: 030 3009030

Opening hours: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun – 10:00-18:00, Tue – closed, Thu – 10:00-20:00

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