I don’t know exactly at what point most people enter the “I haven’t done that in X years” phase of their lives when talking about things they used to enjoy tremendously, but it’s probably and without exception too soon. Over the past two years Berlin has either become more boring or I’ve become acclimated to Europe, but Mr. Dreamer recently located the video store you would want and expect the once Babylon-on-Spree to offer, and it is Filmgalerie Berlin.
In my youth home video was emerging and although it became a double-edged sword, it was an exciting one at the time. We had unprecedented access to studios’ back catalogues that otherwise would have been broadcast on network or public television if at all, and the trips to the local video store were full of the joy of discovery that the on-demand convenience of iTunes rentals and the ethical slope of BitTorrent still can’t match. It has been about ten years since I had gotten a rental for an evening’s entertainment and the next day’s inconvenience, but the night I met Mr. Dreamer at the Filmgalerie I was interested in looking at what was on offer. On seeing the section sign I also had the bad taste to blurt out the question that marked me as much as my accent: “What exactly constitutes ‘world cinema’ in Germany?” Allegedly anything not made in Germany, which presents something of a conflict considering that most dubbed Hollywood movies screened at the Cubix Alexanderplatz are hardly considered “world cinema,” but growing up in a country where I was least likely to see a film made in my own country at the local multiplex, I guess I can accept that.
We were at the Filmgalerie more or less to rent The Court Jester, as for some reason one night during dinner I got into the “pellet with the poison” speech. Mr. Dreamer was also impressed with the studied and archival nature of the Filmgalerie and wanted to know my opinion of it, being a film graduate. My “I spent CDN$45K to be able to tell you what to rent on Saturday night” opinion of Filmgalerie is that I will happily support any establishment that puts Mel Brooks in their “deep auteurs” section and seeing the Liguid Sky DVD turned outwards on one of the shelves inspired a silent fangirl squee. There are a lot of movies I still have to watch, but at least almost all of them are neatly organized and in one place, even if I can’t properly recognize all of the translated German titles.