It's a well-known fact that Berghain absolutely don't want you to film or photograph anything inside—and it's a rule that's served them very well. With the blank, faceless slate of the building's front, the mysterious inner-workings of the "best club in the world" have become the stuff of both mythology and imagination. Which, as marketing goes, works a lot better than flyers for getting people through the door.
That said, every year, brave filmmakers, fearless documentarians, fly in the face of this rule—brazenly touting their right to investigate despite the club's stringent policies. These bold creators have fostered a creative cottage industry, an entire genre, all of their own: the shitty grainy video of the inside of Berghain movement. Of course, anyone who hasn't gotten into the club—see: most people—desperately wants to know what all the fuss is about, and it's only through these brief, hurriedly shot epics that they will ever get the chance.
With that in mind, we set about a movie marathon. A phone-film-festival of sorts, and began reviewing all the shitty grainy videos of Berghain we could find online. We have since whittled it down to six essential viewings, and here they are.
Inside the infamous Berghain night club in Berlin - Directed by, mstarling90
Beginning in complete darkness, the video has an impact that comes with the jolting, flashing lights, reminiscent of the opening titles on Noé's Enter The Void. The sound comes at you in a completely authentic way too, forsaking complicated surround sound to bring you the full Berghain experience: direct, in your face, and with no nonsense. That being said, it's filmed in a portrait Snapchat style, and that is a personal insult to not only those who have taken the time to watch, but to cinema in general.
RATING: 1 SVEN
Inside the Berghain! - Directed by, zazazouu
Short but certainly not sweet. The cinematography is quick and disorientating, instead focusing on the finer points of Berghain's architecture—its roof. The moment we are finally taken down to lock eyes with another albeit grainy reveller beside us, the video cuts off… So near but so far. This looks like a Salem video, and fuck what anyone else says, I still like Salem so this is automatically favourable.
RATING: 3 SVENS
Berghain! - Directed by, coldfire30622
When word first broke that coldfire30622 was making a Berghain movie, we knew to expect something a little out of the ordinary, but nothing could have prepared us for the bravery on show in Berghain! Adopting the steadicam approach, the movie comes off like a found-footage disaster flick. Ever favouring the mystery, coldfire30622 keeps us guessing, preferring to offer a Berghain that exists in the imagined space between illumination.
RATING: 4 SVENS
Panorama bar sunday afternoon Steffi - Directed by, huskyboy9000
Set in Panorama Bar, just as the speckled yellow light of morning enters through the ashen windows, huskyboy9000's stark account of clubbers by day, titled here Panorama bar sunday afternoon Steffi, promises a little more than it perhaps delivers. Relying far too heavily on its big name cast, literally putting Steffi's name in the title of the film, it sadly fails to capture the actual spirit of the club. That said, you'll struggle to find a more iconic line of dialogue this year than "woooooooooooooooooooooooo."
RATING: 2 SVENS
berghain club in berlin - Directed by, DruggleForum
With its barely audible clanging techno, and cool flashes of light obscuring the action, you'd be forgiven for thinking this entry was a little under-whelming. You might even think it's simply a bad framed video shot on cheap camera phone. If that is as far as your interpretation stretches then so be it, but berghain club in berlin is in fact the devastating tale of one cowboy's search for answers in the belly of Berlin's most infamous nightclub. Surely there is no more haunting image in the pantheon of grainy Berghain videos, than that of the lone ranger's silhouette, gyrating into the dry ice.
RATING: 4 SVENS
Berghain Berlin - The walk of shame - Directed by, Jan Baeten
Sometimes the greatest motion pictures are not the ones that arrive with a bang, but rather the quiet, unassuming works of human reality. Berghain Berlin - The walk of shame is one of those films. Armed only with an umbrella, braving the elements outside of the club, it is the only film in this series that captures the true Berghain experience. Shot entirely outside of the club, it is a resolutely candid account of three men facing failure, and the women who helped them confront it. Heartwarming, hilarious, and pointedly accurate—this is the Berghain we recognise as ours. A masterpiece.
RATING: 5 SVENS