Berlin Open-Air Cinemas: The Best Queer Movies
Berlin is the capital of film and cinema in Germany. No wonder the city is also a paradise for cinema fans during summer. Luckily, there is dozens of open-air cinemas with a unique flair characteristic for each and single one: From small and hidden ones in the park to other that are found in the middle of urban areas with skyscrapers towering in the background to those movies that echo the style of ancient amphitheatres. But above all, there are some open-air cinemas that have a distinctly queer programme.
The queerest open-air cinema is the 'Freiluftkino Kreuzberg'. Located behind the 'Künstlerhaus Bethanien' on Mariannenplatz, it is quite secluded and situated on a large lawn. Deckchairs are on offer, which make for a relaxing experience. 'Freiluftkino Kreuzberg' screens LGBTQI* classics and other film favourites from more alternative arthouse cinemas. The programming is curated by the gay organisers. Berlin's only OmU open-air cinema shows a different film every day with the digital projection screened in the original soundtrack, complete with subtitles. German films are shown with English subtitles. This season, one of the most exciting queer stories is surely Tár, a fictional drama about lesbian conductor starring Cate Blanchett. Also part of the program: "Everything Everywhere All At Once" by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Schreinert and a true highlight of 2022: A deep, serious and hilariously funny story about Chinese laundromat owner Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) fighting the woman from the tax office (Jamie-Lee-Curtis) while her own lesbian daughter Joy Wang (Stephanie Hsu) fights against her Evelyn's unacceptance – and is willing to go all in.
Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg
U Kottbusser Tor
Website of Freiluftkino Kreuzberg
Berliners love the Volkspark Hasenheide, situated on the border between Neukölln and Kreuzberg. One of the many reasons for its popularity is the Hasenheide open-air cinema, a mainstay of Berlin’s cultural life. The cinema is located in a walled amphitheatre in the park, on which concerts and other events also staged. The film programme is diverse and also features films with LGBTQI* themes. Here, too, films are often shown in the original English versions with German subtitles. "Close", a Coming of Age drama about two young boys and their friendship being threatened by a homophobic surrounding, is a queer gem of the program for sure. Another absolute highlight: the live show "Get Fucked in Hasenheide" with drag performances by Berlin stars like Olympia Bukkakis on June 3.
At Volkspark Hasenheide, 10967 Berlin-Neukölln
Website of Freiluftkino Hasenheide
Also to be found in a park, in the much busier Volkspark Friedrichshain, is the 'Freiluftkino Friedrichshain'. It is hidden in the huge park, not far from the well-known gay haunt, Märchenbrunnen. This venue, which is also the setting for the annual Lesbian Gay Park Festival, is run by gay film professionals, in combination with the Kreuzberg and Rehberge open-air cinemas. There are over 1,000 seats here with comfortable benches, as well as chairs and tables placed in front of the screen. In addition to many films that were also shown at the Berlinale, classic films and some LGBTQI* gems, readings, and other cultural events are also held here, often with a focus on queer content. On display again this year: "Call me by your Name" by Luca Guadagnino – worth both the rewatch and all the sweet little tears.
At Volkspark Friedrichshain, 10249 Berlin-Friedrichshain
S Landsberger Allee
Website at Freiluftkino Friedrichshain
The small, cosy, courtyard cinema of the 'Kino Central' in Mitte is very urban. Here, to be literally located in the backyard of a factory building, some of the more recent queer films are shown in this venue, with its very alternative ambience. There are also politically and artistically sophisticated arthouse films on the program as the Oscar-winning "The Whale" that tells the story of a fat gay man suffering from eating disorders after his boyfriend's suicide and ultimately bringing his own life in danger.
Rosenthaler Straße 39, 10178 Berlin-Mitte
S Hackescher Markt
Website of Kino Central
The Rehberge Park lies in the northern district of Wedding and has been the location of a popular open-air cinema for years. It is run by the same queer team as the Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain open-air cinemas. If you're in the mood for relaxed film enjoyment without subtitles, this is the place to be. Most films are shown in dubbed versions. One exception is one of the classics of queer film history, namely 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show', which can be watched in its original version.
At Volkspark Rehberge, 13351 Berlin-Wedding
U Afrikanische Straße
Website of Freiluftkino Rehberge
In complete contrast to the 'Sommerkino im Schloss Charlottenburg', the 'Sommerkino Kulturforum', run by the same team, focuses on the urban atmosphere in the city centre. Located directly in front of the modernist 'Gemäldegalerie', next to the 'Philharmonie' and the 'Neue Nationalgalerie', the films are shown here against the backdrop of the high-rise buildings on Potsdamer Platz.
Matthäikirchplatz 6, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten
S+U Potsdamer Platz
Website of Sommerkino Kulturforum
In the very east of the city, the 'Parkbühne Biesdorf' is picturesquely located in the 'Schlosspark Biesdorf'. Far away from the trendy districts, you can enjoy films under a starry sky and discover a completely different Berlin beforehand or afterwards. For no additional charge, the cinema offers a lot of rustling leaves and a fairytale atmosphere. It's worth experiencing, even though the cinema doesn't have any queer films in its programme.
Im Schlosspark Biesdorf, 12683 Berlin-Biesdorf
Website of Parkbühne Biesdorf
Other recommended outdoor cinemas
Freiluftkino Pompeji am Ostkreuz
Laskerstraße 5, 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain
Website of Freiluftkino Pompeji am Ostkreuz
At Revier Südost, Schnellerstraße 137, 12439 Berlin-Niederschöneweide
Website of Freiluftkino Insel
Große Seestraße 10, 13086 Berlin-Weissensee
Tram Berliner Allee/Rennbahnstraße
Website of Freilichtbühne Weissensee
At Kurpark Friedrichshagen, 12587 Berlin-Friedrichshagen
Website of Freiluftkino Friedrichshagen
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