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Drive-in cinemas in Berlin: There’s hope for film fans this summer

While Berlin’s galleries and museums start to cautiously reopen, the city’s cinemas remain geschlossen thanks to the corona crisis. But! Film buffs can again dare to dream of watching blockbusters on the big screen soon: the renaissance of drive-in movie theatres is about to hit Berlin.

Drive-in cinemas in Berlin: Several organiser are poised to set up corona-proof cinemas like this one in Essen. Photo: Imago/Jochen Tack

However, those hungry for the outdoor big-screen experience must still exercise a little patience — organising a drive-in cinema isn’t exactly a run-of-the-mill thing. But at least there’s now a green light (sorry) from the authorities: since the beginning of the month, Germany has again authorised drive-in screenings previously banned. Now it’s the turn of the operators, who, in addition to stage, screen and a programme, need one crucial thing above all: a frequency over which the soundtrack can be heard on the car radio.

Drive-in cinemas in Berlin: Several frequencies requested

Applications for said frequencies have already been received in Pankow and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, as reported by the Berliner Morgenpost. A third competitor has entered the market on its own initiative — the brains behind ‘The Haus’ on Nürnberger Straße, a derelict building which exhibited street art three years ago. Now the team from ‘The Dixons’ wants to follow up with a drive-in cinema in Neukölln. ‘The (P)arkplatz’ is scheduled to open in June next to the Estrel. Conveniently, there’s also a drive-in corona testing centre there, too.

Another competitor is the ‘Autokino Berlin’, already well known in Berlin and Brandenburg, with a site near Schönefeld airport. Their website says that they are working full speed on a suitable Kino programme. The ‘Bärliner Autokino’, on the other hand, left the Zentraler Festplatz Berlin in August 2019 and wanted to open in Nauen last year — without success so far.

Berlin lags behind the other federal states with its lack of drive-in cinemas. Pop-up open-air screens have sprung up all over the country in recent weeks, and have become platforms for music and comedy performances, too. Whether there are similar plans in Berlin remains to be seen.

In the meantime, the Windowflix project aims to bring the cinema experience directly to our courtyards. The initiative is looking for suitable Hinterhofs and walls on which to project film classics including Wings of Desire and The Artist in support of Berlin’s arthouse cinemas. All you need to qualify is to live in a building with at least 20 apartments and a clear view of a large wall.

Berlin’s clubs also remain closed for the time being — here’s what they look like on a Saturday night during the height of the corona crisis.


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