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Munich, Austria, Prague and Berlin

Heading to these locations and was wondering if there are any good books or movies to learn more about the history of these areas. Just watched the Monuments Men at the movie theater and was looking for other good stories to learn about.

thanks,
David

Posted by
12040 posts

Here's a few.

For Berlin, Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter, A Woman in Berlin (both of these are a little hard to watch at times), Der Tunnel (if you can find it), The Lives of Others, Goodbye Lenin, and because not every movie set in Germany has to be about Nazis or Communists, Run, Lola, Run.

For Prague, Kolya.

The only movie I can think of set in Munich that might be available in the US is The Last Days of Sophie Scholl, but most of the film takes place in court rooms and Gestapo offices. You see very little of the actual city.

For Austria/Bavaria, the series of Sissi films from the 50s starring Romy Schneider have remained extremely popular throughout the years, although they're not too well known in the US.

Posted by
57 posts

Tom, thank you for the multiple options. I will definitely check them out.

thanks,
David

Posted by
4740 posts

For Berlin - "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larsson. Also, the movie "The Lives of Others" is outstanding.

Posted by
143 posts

Prague: historical fiction--The Lost Wife

Posted by
635 posts

It isn't serious history, but you might enjoy the classic Cold War comedy One, Two, Three (1961) with James Cagney, Horst Buchholz and Pamela Tiffin. There are many scenes of pre-Wall Berlin, including the Brandenburg Gate. In fact, the Wall was put up in the middle of production (as noted in Cagney's narration opening the film). The producers had to build a mockup of part of the Gate elsewhere in order to complete filming. This was Cagney's last film until Ragtime, 20 years later.

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1 posts

Berlin:

The opening minutes of this film may seem a little strange. The early set-up of the story is establishing the film's main conceit -- invisible angels watching, hearing, and recording the thoughts of random Berliners. After this first ten minutes or so, the movie settles into a more conventional narrative. It's a beautifully poetic love letter to Berlin that captures the zeitgeist of the city just prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Prague:

This was filmed at the tail end of the Cold War. As such, it wasn't practical to actually film in Czechoslovakia. Most of the exteriors were, in fact, shot in Lyon, France. But the production design was so effective, evidently it fooled a lot of native Czechs into thinking it was actually filmed in Prague. Based on the novel by Kundera, this is a terrific look at Czech life during the Prague Spring and subsequent Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968.