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. 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. The people who appear in BERLIN BABYLON include those who build and those who hire others to build.
Prominent architects, developers, politicians and urban planners are seen at work. No interviews, no statements. The music by EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN 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 civilisation, of the violence of construction, lives on in reunited Berlin. The upheaval turns to stone.