(photo: Heribert Schindler)

Organ

Silent film: “Menschen am Sonntag”

Robert Siodmak’s silent film Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday) shows the everyday experiences of young Berliners in 1929, their search for fleeting happiness, their flirtations and disappointments. The film, regarded as one of the most important representatives of the “Neue Sachlichkeit” (New Objectivity) movement, opens the Berliner Philharmoniker’s organ concert series of the 2018/2019 season. At the organ in the Philharmonie is the avid cineast Thomas Ospital, one of the rising stars among young organists. Lights, camera – and action!

Thomas Ospital organ improvisations

Organ & Silent Film

Menschen am Sonntag − Silent Film by Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer and Billy Wilder (1929/1930)

Dates and Tickets

Sun, 07 Oct 2018, 20:00

Philharmonie | Introduction: 19:00

Programme

“A taxi driver, a wine salesman, a shop girl, a film extra, and a model. What happens? Nothing? Nothing happens.” This was how UFA advertised the premiere of their latest film at the Theater am Kurfürstendamm in February 1930. But that was mere coquetry, because from this supposed uneventfulness emerges a masterpiece. Robert Siodmak’s silent film Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday) is regarded as one of the most important representatives of the “Neue Sachlichkeit” (New Objectivity) movement; it opens the organ concert series of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the 2018/2019 season.

The film shows the everyday experiences of young Berliners. They are called Christl, Wolfgang, Annie, Brigitte and Erwin and all want to go on a trip to the Wannsee. Right at the beginning, the protagonists are presented as if by chance, and then also drift again out of focus. Commuter trains and cars rattle across the screen. The result is a portrait of a metropolis that does not rest even on Sundays. Arriving at Wannsee, the camera shows young people looking for fleeting happiness. They play in the water, lie on the beach, fall in love, make love, experience both beautiful moments and disappointments.

One of the screenwriters was none other than Billy Wilder. “There are three golden rules to filmmaking,” he said decades later: “Thou shalt not bore, thou shalt not bore, and thou shalt not bore!“ – and in Menschen am Sonntag, Wilder certainly doesn’t!

For one evening, the Berlin Philharmonie will transform into a big, silent movie picture house. At the organ is Thomas Ospital, a rising star among organists. Not yet 30 years old, the Frenchman is one of the most sought-after organists of our time, works as titular organist at the famous church of Saint-Eustache in Paris, is an avowed cineast, and above all, is a musical all-rounder. Lights, camera – and action!

(photo: Heribert Schindler)

Thomas Ospital (photo: Chris White Photography)

(photo: Praesens-Film AG)

(photo: Praesens Film AG)