B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin 1979-1989

The documentary film is a first-hand account of West Berlin’s decadent and chaotic nightlife from before the curtain fell.

Part of the event

Music, art and chaos characterised West Berlin between 1979 and 1989. Divided from the rest of Europe by the Iron Curtain, West Berlin became a melting pot for the creatives, the avant-garde scene and pop culture. In the documentary essay, B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin 1979-1989, we follow the protagonist, musician Mark Reeder through unreleased footage that captures the rhythm, movement and turmoil of West Berlin.

Reeder documented 10 years of short days and long nights marked by a hunger to live for the moment rather than plan for the future. “At the end of the seventies, I was stranded in Berlin. What I would experience over the next 10 years in West Berlin, I’ve documented in this film,” explains Reeder. 

A punk musician, Reeder left his home city of Manchester in the UK to immerse himself in Germany’s electronic music scene. What he found was a culture charged by respect for the arts and revolutionary politics. Situated in the middle of the Communist-governed DDR, West Berlin was occupied in three sectors by British, French and American armed forces while surrounded by The Warsaw Pact - the collective defence treaty between the Soviet Union and seven Soviet satellite states in Central and Eastern Europe.

Despite the tension in the region, all West Berlin’s citizens were excused from National Service and the area was cheap to live in, making it the ideal breeding space for creatives, freethinkers and artists. This environment fuelled West Berlin’s famously decadent nightlife and birthed Reeder’s career as a musician and record producer.

The film consists of unreleased documentary footage joined by newly filmed scenes in historical appearance. The end of Communist rule in Berlin and the fall of the Berlin Wall brought with it the end of West Berlin.

The film made its debut at the Berlin National Film Festival 2015. 

*This film will be screened at the Design Indaba FilmFest 2016 in Cape Town as part of the Design Indaba Festival. The FilmFest will take place at the various locations across the country. Watch out for our programme for more information and tickets.

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