In a world overrun with antiseptic 18-plexes appended to insipid shopping centres, Berlin’s Kiez-Kinos are a source of no small delight for cinephiles. They invariably crop up in unexpected locations, and many look to be about the size of your front room, but most exude the unmistakable cool of an exotically misremembered recent past … and, more importantly, all of them show films.
Here at Berlin Typography HQ we like films as much as anyone (especially if those films happen to be directed by Tarkovsky, Rivette or Buñuel), but our unshakable attraction to Berlin’s Kiez-Kinos has as much to do with their magnificent signs as their film programmes. Many of the smallest neighbourhood cinemas seem to have emerged – or at least had their final refurb – at a time when both neon craftsmanship and typographic elegance were at their respective heights, and their hugely distinctive, often wonderfully quirky signs never fail to stand out among the Spielhalles and Spätis of any street.
During our travels we have discovered numerous gems on major shopping streets and in quiet residential areas, in the heart of the city’s centre and in the lesser-trodden neighbourhoods around the edges. In honour of the 67th Berlinale, which will take place at various venues throughout the city between 9–19 February, we are delighted to present a selection of our favourite Berlin cinemas.
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