Since the Wall fell in 1989 the German capital has been trying to overcome its catastrophic past, to restore the urban fabric destroyed in the 20th century, to build as if life depended on it and cast off the shadows of yesterday’s darkness. The film shows images of a city in transition, the fascination of rapid change, the beauty of unadulterated landscapes, the horrors of destruction, the spell cast by the void. It is the drama of real estate, of money and power. Prominent architects, developers, politicians and urban planners are seen at work. No interviews, no statements. The music provides the commentary. The film uses fantastic images to show the contrasts of the city and the protagonists of hasty transformation. The Babylonian fable of civilization, of the violence of construction, lives on in reunited Berlin. The upheaval turns to stone.
BERLIN BABYLON is a film about construction in Berlin. It begins with a prologue on the Tower of Babylon and Alexander the Great, on power and ambition, on demolition and the problems of building. Twentieth century Berlin knew various decades of architectural upheaval, as did many other cities. But the concentration of construction in the 1990s, the decade after the Wall collapsed, is a one-of-a-kind phenomenon. The people who appear in BERLIN BABYLON include those who build and those who hire others to build. The buildings shown in BERLIN BABYLON are old or still under construction. Some have remained figments of the imagination. Others have been destroyed.