The German practice of dubbing films can drive you mad at times. But thankfully for English speakers there are a network of cinemas across Germany offering and sometimes specialising in cinema in its original language.
One of the things that can drive you mad about life in Germany is the extent of dubbing of foreign-language television and films in the country.
Instead of picking up the German lingo, many people living in Germany say they have become adept at lip reading as a way of getting around the heavy-handed voiceovers and ‘synchronisierung’ that has turned dubbing into a major industry in the country.
Those actually doing the dubbing might have become big stars in their own right in Germany, but the whole process of sychronisierung wipes out regional and national differences in language with the actors’ ‘voices’ seeming to come down to just a handful of dubbers.
For a country that prides itself on its acting profession and theatres, there appears to be a very crude understanding of the importance of language in even the most minor character roles. Is this really just a form of cultural imperialism?
It as if the whole world speaks perfect Hochdeustch (high German) with almost every program that takes to the air dubbed within an inch of its life.
The Germans are a sophisticated and educated lot, so how do they really feel when the google box takes them to some remote part of the world only to find that everyone there (surprise, surprise) speaks perfect German.
DVD’s along with new TV technology and programming has helped with some televisions allowing viewers to watch programs in their ‘Originalfassung’ (original version).
Thankfully for English speakers living in Germany there are also a network of cinemas offering and sometimes specialising in cinema in its original language.
In particular, this includes CineStar in Berlin’s Sony Center (Potsdamer Str 4, Tiergarten, Ph: 26066260), UFA Palast Grindel in Hamburg (Grindelberg 7A Ph: 44 93 33) and the Turm Palast Cinema (Bleichstr 57, Ph: 28 17 87 which at the moment is the only cinema showing English-language films in Frankfurt.
When consulting movie guides watch out for films marked with ‘OmU’ or ‘OmengU’. These are in original version with German/English subtitles. When they are marked ‘OF’ or ‘OV’ it means original version.
A word of warning: OmU or OV can also refer to film in say French or Chinese with or without German subtitles.
In addition to Cinestar, the principal cinemas in Berlin offering English-language films are:
Hackesche Hoefe 4/1
Rosenthaler Str 40-41, Mitte
Ph: 283 4603
Dresdner Str 126, Kreuzberg
Neue Kant Kinos
Kant Str 54, Charlottenburg
fsk am Oranienplatz
Segitzdamm 2, Kreuzberg
Giesebrechstr 4, Charlottenburg
Potsdamer Str 2, Tiergarten
Kottbusser Damm 22, Kreuzberg
Hauptstr 116, Schoeneberg
Kolonnenstr 5, Schoeneberg
Ph: 782 8850
Immanuelkirchstr, Prenzlauer Berg
Rosenthaler Str 39, Mitte
Zeughofstr 20, Kreuzberg
Filmkunst 66 Kino 1
Bleibtreustr 12, Charlottenburg
Hermannstr 20, Neukoeln
Ph: 62 709550
Nymphenburger Str 31
Ph: 55 52 55
Ph: 38 40 53 10
Ph: 48 24 03 (box office)
Ph: 555 152
Ph: 34 76 51
Ph: 51 56 51
Landshuter Allee 33
Ph: 16 87 21
Ph: 260 32 65
Ph: 223 183
Ph: 320 320