After the First World War, Berlin had this moment of glory during the twenties. Those years were so important to the city that some people call it The Golden Twenties and they are right when it comes to the name. Because of all of this, this video from the Summer of 1929 in Berlin is a special one.
The twenties in Berlin were pretty special. It was the time of the Greater Berlin Act when the german capital became the third largest city in the world after London and New York. During those years, Berlin was taking leadership roles in everything it could. From science to music passing through cinema and health issues.
It was the Weimar Republic era and during it’s short existence, a lot of things happened to Germany and, specially, Berlin. German Expressionism begun during the First World War and continued to have a huge influence on the art world in the years to come.
It was during those years that the world of architecture and design changed forever with Bauhaus. Literature in german had one of its high points with Berlin Alexanderplatz. The cinema world would never be the same after Fritz Lang Metropolis in 1927 and Marlene Dietrich’s Blue Angel. And it didn’t stop there… Too bad that this culture would be tear to pieces in the upcoming years with the rise of right wing politics and the Nazi Party.
But we are here to talk about the good things from the past. And the movie below is one of these things. Filmed by Billy Wilder in the summer of 1929 in Berlin, the footage is an extract from a silent movie called Menschen Am Sonntag, a title that can be translated as People On Sunday.
The extract is just 3 minutes long and shows a lot of what Berlin used to be back then. There are people on the streets, talking to each other, enjoying the sun, taking the train and smiling at the camera. It is like a trip back in time.
People on Sunday was a major movie success in Germany at the time it was released in 1930. Directed by Curt and Robert Siodmak, the film follows the lives of a group of residents of Berlin on a summer’s day during the interwar period that was so good to the city. The movie was hailed as a work of genius, pure movie gold, and it was pivotal to the development of German cinema as well as Hollywood.
If you want to watch People on Sunday entirely, click here to watch it on youtube. And, if you want to watch more vintage videos of Berlin, click here to see how Berlin used to be back in 1900, how everything changed in the 30’s, how East Berlin used to be during the Cold War and how everything changed even more after the reunification.