Berlin Open-air Cinemas: The best Open-air Queer Films
Berlin is the German film and cinema capital. So, it's no wonder that the city is also a paradise for cinema fans during summer. Dozens of open-air cinemas each have their own unique flair. Some are small and hidden in the park, others have an urban atmosphere with skyscrapers in the background, while others 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, film fans can once again watch 'Call Me by your Name', the sad gay love story that Luca Guadagnino filmed in 2017, based on the bestseller by André Aciman.
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. A highlight this year is the new film 'Parallel Mothers' by the successful Spanish director, Pedro Almodóvar.
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. This season, the cinema is showing, among others, the film 'Große Freiheit' (Great Freedom), which examines the persecution of gay men in the early years of the Federal Republic.
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 programme. This season, however, box office hits are also on offer, including 'Rocketman', the musical biopic about Elton John.
Rosenthaler Straße 39, 10178 Berlin-Mitte
S Hackescher Markt
Website of Kino Central
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
The ultra-modern architecture of the 'Hauses der Kulturen der Welt' – HKW - (House of World Cultures) in Tiergarten has a very special atmosphere. The former congress hall, known in Berlin simply as the 'Pregnant Oyster', is definitely worth a visit. It is to be found right next to the former site of ‘Instituts für Sexualforschung’ (the Institute for Sexual Research) established by the late Magnus Hirschfeld, where homosexual emancipation began almost 100 years ago. The cinema programme is part of the annual 'Water Music: Mississippi' festival. The films are shown in the Westgarten. Concerts, which are also part of the programme, are held on the fabulous roof terrace.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin-Tiergarten
Website of Haus der Kulturen der Welt
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
Sommerkino im Schloss Charlottenburg
The magnificent Charlottenburg Palace with its splendid huge gardens is home to a new permanent exhibition on the (most probably) gay King Frederick the Great. In summer, the Baroque palace façade is also home to an open-air cinema. Among other events, the musical masterpiece 'Cabaret', is screened at the 'Sommerkino im Schloss Charlottenburg', 50 years after its premiere. The film is based on the novel, 'Goodbye to Berlin', by the iconic, gay cult author Christopher Isherwood.
Sommerkino im Schloss Charlottenburg
Spandauer Damm 10, 14059 Berlin-Charlottenburg
Website of Sommerkino im Schloss Charlottenburg
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. Among many others, you can watch David Lynch's masterpiece 'Mulholland Drive'.
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
And this is how you get there: The Queer City Pass gives you a ticket for public transport (within Berlin) - and on top of that a great discount with lots of partner companies!
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