Scenes from Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis by Walter Ruttmann (1927)
The experimental documentary film Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis marks the transition from the early years of Expressionist cinema to Neue Sachlichkeit or “New Objectivity,” a movement that emphasized the realism of everyday life over romantic longings. In lieu of a storyline, the film loosely portrays the events of a single day in Berlin. Director Walter Ruttmann was interested in exploring the modern phenomena of speed, mobility, mass consumption, and mechanized production. He was equally fascinated by the new technologies that allowed for all of this. Ruttmann favored a cross-cut style of editing that juxtaposed representatives of the various classes of Weimar society – here, for example, a bourgeois diner at Berlin’s Café Josty (lower right) is juxtaposed with Berliners from all walks of life purchasing food from a street vendor (upper left). Director: Walter Ruttmann.