Forget Netflix. Nevermind online streaming. Sometimes, nothing beats going to see a movie the old-fashioned way: you know, putting on actual clothes, leaving the house, and going to sit in a theatre with one’s fellow mankind to be entertained for 90+ minutes. I like going to the movies with friends (provided they’re not the kind to ask annoying questions throughout the movie, in which case the friendship is OVER) and I also like going to movies by myself. Sitting in a darkened room with other people that you don’t have to talk to can be rather soothing. Some days, that’s just the right dose of social contact.
Much as I like going to the movies, I don’t like giant, soulless movie megaplexes. (The Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz = my Berlin hell.) Luckily, the city has a wealth of small, independent art house theatres to choose from. Babylon in Mitte is one fave, and Kino Arsenal is great too. fsk Kino is the best place to see foreign films, and tiny Lichtblick Kino on Kastanienallee has, for years and years, been screening Casablanca every Saturday at midnight, which is just so charming.
The latest addition to my list of faves is the recently opened Il Kino, a little bar/café/theatre hybrid run by a trio of friends just off Maybachufer in Neukölln. The welcoming bar-café faces the street, with a cozy screening room tucked into the back corner. The program leans more toward indie and foreign than Hollywood blockbuster, and like all the theatres mentioned earlier, Il Kino is pretty good at catering to non-German speakers. English-language films are screened in their original version (i.e. not dubbed into German) and foreign films generally have English, not German, subtitles. Since one of the owners is Italian, the program frequently features recent films from Italy.
Other pros: no pre-movie ads, and comfortable seats. Con: no popcorn, though maybe it’s a good thing not having to hear your neighbours crunch and gnaw their way through a bag of kernels for half the film. And anyway, the selection of antipasti, tapas, grilled panini, and Italian wines makes for a classier movie snack than the usual popcorn-and-Haribo binge.
Il Kino | Nansenstr. 22 | Website