|Opened||15 November 1963|
Second phase of construction of Karl-Marx-Allee (1959–1965)
After the completion of Karl-Marx-Allee from Strausberger Platz to Proskauer Straße, it was planned to extend to Alexanderplatz. After the plans of Hermann Henselmann were rejected, a competition was initiated in which seven architectural firms participated. In contrast to the first phase of construction of the Allee, dominated by the construction of elaborate Socialist Classicist buildings, the second phase included a mixture of Plattenbau, retail stores, restaurants, and cultural facilities according to plans of Edmund Collein, Werner Dutschke, and Josef Kaiser. These included the Café Moskau, the Mokka-Milch-Eisbar and the Kino International.
Planning and architecture
The theater was designed by Josef Kaiser and Heinz Aust as a three-story reinforced concrete frame construction with light sandstone façades. Kaiser had already designed the Kino Kosmos and Café Moskau. Due to the predefined boundaries of the bar area, the floor plans of each story vary: the ground floor is 38x35 m and the second floor is 47x35 m. A characteristic open space with glass surfaces faces the street, while the side façades are closed. The side surfaces show reliefs from Waldemar Grzimek, Hubert Schiefelbein, and Karl-Heinz Schamal.
After its two-year construction, the theater was opened on November 15, 1963 with a grand opening premiere. In addition to the theater itself, other rooms included a library, an office of the Oktoberklub, and a "Representation Room" in which state and party leader celebrated before and after film premieres. Today, these rooms host regular parties of Kino International's gay and lesbian club.
Cinema hall and technology
The 1950s and 1960s saw many new buildings built in a special new kind of cinema architecture, including the Zoo-Palast and the Royal Palast. This new style was meant to give the viewer optimal viewing and sound experiences. This was also considered during the planning of Kino International. The cinema, which holds almost 600 viewers, is inclined. The acoustic technology was developed especially for the theater and is similar to that of a recording studio. Walls are covered with acoustic dampening panels and the wall coverings, made of offset wood panels with open joints guaranteed an acoustic experience that was unique at that time. The waved ceiling also optimally reflects sounds to the seating area. In the 1980s, Kino International was one of the first cinemas in the GDR equipped with Dolby Stereo.
Theater for premieres
Until 1989, Kino International was the main theater for premieres in the GDR. Multiple films produced by the DEFA (state-owned film studio) held their premieres here. Especially important for the party and national leadership were the eight rows with optimal views and extra legroom. Before and after premieres, state visitors sojourned in the "Representation Room", today called the Honecker Lounge. In the basement, a small bunker and elevator were later added for the state leadership. The Kino's last premiere in the GDR was Heiner Carow's Coming Out on November 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall fell.
Today, the International is used by many filmmakers for premieres due to the theater's ambience and is one of the venues of the Berlinale. Visitors from Berlin are fond of the theater's history and special atmosphere. The large film posters on the outside of the theater show the film of the week and are still painted by hand.
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