From Fritz Lang to Brecht, 1920s German culture is being celebrated in print and on stage perhaps because it has clear echoes today
It was one of the most febrile and fascinating periods in the 20th century. A time when cultural creativity and technical innovation walked hand in hand with political uncertainty, growing inequality and storm clouds gathering on the horizon. Small wonder, then, that 100 years later, the Weimar republic is being celebrated in film and literature, music and art.
Next month sees the conclusion of the BFIs well-received Weimar programme, Beyond Your Wildest Dreams: Weimar Cinema 1919-1933, a series of films from the well-known such as M, Metropolis and The Blue Angel to the more esoteric such as the silent film Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolisand period drama Chronicles of the Gray House.
Meanwhile, Esa-Pekka Salonen, artistic adviser and principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, is overseeing Weimar Berlin: Bittersweet Metropolis, a series of concerts, cabaret, films and talks, culminating in September at the Royal Festival Hall with The Partys Over, which includes a performance of Kurt Weills 1924 Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra and Alban Bergs Lulu Suite.
Just down the road, Tate Modern is showing Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany, having last year also dedicated an exhibition to Anni Albers, one of the few female Bauhaus artists. And, on television, the German series Babylon Berlin, adapted from Volker Kutschers bestselling books, has become a global and critical hit, with a third series scheduled for later this year.
Literature, too, is in on the act. Last month saw the publication of Metropolis, the last novel by the late Philip Kerr, which takes his much-loved PI Bernie Gunther back into the dying days of Weimar Berlin. The Hiding Game, Naomi Woods new novel about a group of young students at the Bauhaus and beyond, is published in July, and the following month sees the publication of Blueprint, the debut novel by German author Theresia Enzensberger, which tells the story of a would-be architecture student at the Bauhaus.