The 62nd thing I love about living in Berlin…

The Berlinale, Berlin’s spectacular film festival.

BrokenCircleThe Berlinale screens films ranging from traditional Hollywood blockbusters (Les Miserables, this year) to small documentaries. Tickets can be rather cumbersome to acquire – they’re only available three days in advance of each screening and the online allotments sell out in literally minutes.

Thanks to a tip from our German tutor, I ventured off to one of the three official box offices where I could compare the list of films with tickets still available against the list of films we wanted to see, then plot the possibilities on a calendar to avoid overlaps. While this entire process took more than an hour, it was an exciting hour and I left the theater with tickets to five films showing over the next few days.

The first we attended was for director Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown. Remember my post about the hardiness of German tissues? This film is what cemented my fervent admiration for these Taschentücher. I ended up needing almost an entire pocket pack of tissues thanks to the high emotions and tragic happenings in this beautifully acted film from Belgium. I suspect American tissues would have had a hard time keeping up with the multitude of my tears. Continue reading


The 59th thing I love about living in Berlin…



One thing I quickly learned after moving to Germany is that Berliners — or at least those in charge of buying store inventory — are big fans of the pocket tissue (Taschentuch). Our local grocery stores stock only a few types of tissues in boxes but a huge variety of small travel tissue packs.

In the US, boxes take up a majority of the tissue shelf space and pocket tissue packs tend to be far more expensive per tissue. That’s not the case here, where I have very limited options in tissues-by-the-box but inexpensive Taschentücher mini-packs galore.

I wasn’t an easy convert but now I love having that 10 or 12 pack of pocket tissues around, especially during this drippy-nose chilly time of year. Another benefit of German tissues? They’re thick, like two or three or even four ply thick, more than sturdy enough for whatever duty they might be called upon to perform.

And trust me, that comes in handy. Especially when one unexpectedly ends up at the cinema watching a movie US tissues might not stand up to.

But more on that next time…

The 58th thing I love about living in Berlin…




Since I grew up in Southern California, the undisputed movie mecca of the world, it should be no surprise that I absolutely love films. We did almost all of our movie watching the last few years in the US at home, so I’m thrilled that Kino (cinema) dates with my Love have become a big part of our life here in Berlin. For my Christmas present, said Love even promised as many movies as we could fit in during the two week Berlinale, or 2013 Berlin Film Festival.

A week-long school vacation right at the Berlinale’s start last week meant a delay in our movie-going extravaganza for a trip to Salzburg (though that certainly counted in a way, considering the cavalcade of all things Sound of Music we experienced there). With just four days of Berlinale goodness left, we’re now catching up big time with six films on our agenda before the festival closes on Sunday.

First up is The Broken Circle Breakdown, a film from Belgium/The Netherlands that we’ll be seeing early this evening. I’ll be back tomorrow with a brief review and the title of our next selection…

The 42nd thing I love about living in Berlin…

That I’ve now seen as many movies in the theater here in the past week as I did all last year in the U.S.

While the total number of movies seen here (two) is pathetically small, going out to the movies is one of my favorite things in life and so even two is something to celebrate.

The lighting in this photo isn’t ideal (I didn’t want to disturb my fellow theater-goers with flash), but that sparkly silver thing there is a very lovely screen curtain. When it finally rolled open and the lights dimmed, I felt the thrill of the coming cinematic adventure from the top of my head (cradled by a very cushy seat back) to the soles of my feet (resting on a surprisingly non-sticky floor).

It didn’t matter that the trailers were all in German or that I’d already seen the movie (Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s latest). I wasn’t even bothered by the German subtitles accompanying this American film (most English movies are dubbed in German before playing here, so it was a treat to watch the original version). In fact, watching an English-language movie with German subtitles turned out to be a great way to pick up new Deutsch vocabulary!

Another lovely thing about going out to the movies here? Being able to buy a beer to enjoy while watching, of course. There are even bottle crates in the side aisles for easy recycling.

Since we now plan on making Kino visits a regular part of life here in Berlin, it’s good to know where to leave the empties…

The 39th thing I love about living in Berlin…

Sharing the same air as actress/writer/director Franka Ponte, one of this lovely city’s most famous residents.

I have no idea if she spends much time here these days (she’s been cast in the new season of American Horror Story), but I would be so very delighted to see her and about about in Berlin some day.

The photo here is one I copied from IMDB. I’m not much into borrowing photos without permission but since this picture appears to be a publicity shot, here it is. If you’re so inclined, you can check out a larger view of this photo from the iconic film Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run, in the English translation) but I recommend checking out the film itself if you haven’t already. Truly a classic, and filmed in Berlin!