The Berlinale means not only premieres of feature films and documentaries, but also retrospectives. This year's Retrospective is devoted to SF cinema, and you have to agree that it looks impressive – including both classic and exotic titles from the genre.
It was Monday, 2.30 p.m., the middle of a working day. Meanwhile, a large auditorium in the CinemaxX multiplex was filled to capacity. The crowd of spectators hadn't come to see a fresh premiere. On the contrary. They were about to see Dark City from 1998, a film almost twenty years old, and which has been available for years on DVD or BluRay. But it's one thing to watch this visual masterpiece by Alex Proyas at home, and another to see it on a big cinema screen. That was probably the thinking of the organisers of this year's retrospective: to give the public a unique opportunity to see SF films in the conditions for which they were originally intended.
Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, Ghost in the Shell, or the aforementioned Dark City – these are just a few of the 27 (!) films presented in the series, whose two leitmotifs are: the society of the future, and the strange and Other. The screenings are extremely diverse. In addition to classics of the genre, they include an extensive range of films from countries of the former Eastern Bloc, such as the famous Letters from a Dead Man by Konstantin Lopuszanski, World on a Wire by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and three Polish titles: On the Silver Globe by Andrzej Zulawski, O-bi, O-ba: The End of Civilization by Piotr Szulkin and Pilot Pirx's Inquest by Marek Piestrak.
And, coming back to Dark City: the cinema screening of the film, which is a display of visual creativity, is just a completely different kind of artistic experience. It offers the opportunity to discern details hidden in the background, and deeper, and to immerse yourself in an atmosphere that no home cinema can give you. It's fantastic to be able to plunge into the backstreets of Dark City and experience the real magic of cinema.