Kino International is not only one of Berlin's most important cinemas, it is also one of the architectural crown jewels of the reunited city. Today, as a listed cinema monument, it is just as famous worldwide as it is as a major premiere house. Filmmakers such as Tilda Swinton, Steven Spielberg, Barry Jenkins, Taika Waititi, Spike Lee and many others have been guests here to present their films to the public for the first time.One could make a film about the moving story of the International. It would tell, for example, how Heiner Carow's Coming Out celebrated its premiere on 9 November 1989. A sensation and the result of many years of effort to be allowed to make a film about homosexuality in the GDR that promoted tolerance. The film title was to become the programme for the fate of an entire nation on the same night. The Berlin Wall falls during the first of the two premiere screenings. When the guests left the cinema, they found themselves in a whole different reality. In many ways, this evening is a turning point in the history of cinema between the GDR and reunified Berlin. 27 years earlier, the Kino International opened in November 1963 after a two-year construction period. The building was been planned by architects Josef Kaiser and Heinz Aust, who were also responsible for the Café Moskau and the Kino Kosmos. Waldemar Grzimek, Hubert Schiefelbein and Karl-Heinz Schamal designed the 14-part sculpture relief From the Lives of Today's People, which extends over the three windowless sides, from only two moulds.The building itself has everything for ceremonial DEFA film premieres in the presence of the GDR state leadership: a separate row with extra legroom, a representation room for receptions, and even its own nuclear bomb shelter.Countless DEFA premieres, festive balls and banquets were celebrated here. Even concerts took place in the cinema. But the people of East Berlin also flocked to the cinema away from the big premieres. DEFA classics like Solo Sunny, but also selected West German films like Dirty Dancing, attracted more than 100,000 viewers.Sometimes, however, unpleasant scenes took place away from the screen. In 1966, the SED leadership staged protests during screenings and in front of the cinema against the film Spur der Steine, which seemed too critical to the party leadership. The staged riots were taken as an opportunity to ban the film. Only a few days after the premiere, it disappeared from the programme and director Frank Beyer's career was put on hold for years. It was only two weeks after the fall of the Wall that the film was shown again for the first time at the Kino International, as well as in 1990 at the Berlinale, which took place that year for the first, but not the last time at the International...Since 1992, the International has belonged to the Yorck Kinogruppe, which looks after the cinema in several ways. The building is constantly being carefully maintained, refurbished and renovated in keeping with its status as a listed building. It is still one of the most important premiere cinemas in Germany and welcomes national and international filmmakers for first screenings. And the Yorck Kinogruppe also ties in programmatically with the events surrounding the premiere of Coming Out on 9 November 1989. Since 1997, the Mongay film series has been a fixed part of the cinema programme, bringing a current queer film to the big screen on Karl-Marx-Allee every Monday at 10 pm. It is the oldest queer film series in Germany. And outside, on the façade, a beautiful anachronism greets guests from afar, just like almost sixty years ago: hand-painted cinema posters, timeless and unique - like the International itself.
1963The International is completed as a multifunctional venue after two years of construction and opens on November 15 with the Soviet drama An Optimistic Tragedy. Walter Ulbricht angrily leaves the hall because the copy of the film is faulty.
1966The party leadership stages protests in front of and at the Kino International against the film Track of Stones, which it dislikes, and takes them as an opportunity to ban the film.
1980Solo Sunny by Konrad Wolf becomes one of the most successful films in the history of cinema with over 100,000 viewers.
1987As one of the few western productions besides Cabaret (1972) and Einer flog übers Cuckucksnest (1976), Dirty Dancing is also shown in the Kino International, also with over 100,000 viewers.
1989On the evening of the premiere of Coming Out, the first film in the GDR with a gay protagonist, the Berlin Wall falls.
1990While the GDR is still alive, the Kino International becomes a venue for the Berlinale for the first time, where it quite quickly becomes a permanent fixture.
1992The Yorck Kinogruppe takes over the house from the Bezirksfilmdirektion.
1997For the first time, the film series Mongay takes place at Kino International. Following on from the events of 1989, Coming Out kicks off the series. The series becomes an important attraction for the community in Berlin and is the oldest queer film series in Germany.
1999With Klub International, a gay party series arrives at Kino International that will become legendary in the 2000s. A few years later, a female version for the lesbian community is added.
2013The cinema's 50th anniversary is celebrated with a DEFA film series and technical revamp. The club era comes to an end a short time later.
2015Building historian Dietrich Worbs publishes his book Das Kino International in Berlin.
2018The facade of the Kino International is renovated in accordance with the preservation order.
2021After months of the Corona lockdown, the Kino leuchtet campaign will take place in February 2021 to draw attention to the difficult situation of cinemas. Kino International will kick things off with a press conference.