Der Himmel über Berlin

Wings of Desire. Screenshot.

This blogpost is not a review on film, it’s a sentimental note about Berlin then and now. How the landscapes of the 80s look today, based on the film “Der Himmel über Berlin”.

It so happens that I live in the yard, where in 1987 Wim Wenders has filmed very important “Wings of Desire”moments – the circus scenes. It is the yard by Hallesches Tor, very close to Friedrichstr. When I started watching the film I did not expect to see the yard I cycle through every day, or Tommy Becker Haus (then – a squat, now – a house project), which famous wall paintings are being regularly photographed by tourists until now.

Wings of Desire. Screenshot.

Wings of Desire with Tommy Becker House on the background. Screenshot.

Berlin, Tommy Becker Haus almost hidden in the green. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

Berlin, Tommy Becker House hidden by the trees. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

My house was not even there in the 80s. But the building across the street, with the yellow windows – was (you can see it on the screenshot above). Now it is quite a special feeling to have this view in front of me. After I finished watching the film I thought it will be interesting to compare “then” and “now” with photographs.

Wings of Desire. Screenshot.

Wings of Desire. Screenshot.

Tommy Becker House. 21/05/2013. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

Tommy Becker House. 21/05/2013. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

The empty yard, where almost 20 years ago was circus, turned into a truly green spot for local kids, alcoholics and drug addicts who come here from Hallesches Tor metro station.

Not only the whole town… the whole world is taking part in our decision.

                                                                     – Marion

On 21 July 1990, ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters staged a gigantic charity concert of his former band’s rock extravaganza The Wall to commemorate the end of the division between Eastand West Germany. The concert took place at Potsdamer Platz. The enormous buildings “grew” within 10 years time and changed the face of the area completely. Now finding the Potsdamer Platz wouldn’t be a problem. 

Former Potsdamer Platz, 1986. Image taken from:

Potsdamer Platz today. Image taken from

Wings of Desire. Screenshot. Hotel Esplanade Berlin, Kaisersaal (the emperor’s hall). Stars like Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo stayed here.

Hotel Esplanade once stood on Berlin’s busy transport and nightlife hub Potsdamer Platz. During its colourful and turbulent history it went from being one of the German capital’s most luxurious and celebrated hotels to a bombed-out ruin lost in the wastelands alongside the Berlin Wall. A section of it still survives today, albeit as a fragment incorporated into the soaring modern complex of the Sony Center.


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