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Deciding what to see at Berlinale is never an easy task. Still, the beauty of Berlin's film festival is that there isn't just one central spot that hosts the week-plus of independent movie magic — nearly every venue in town gets in on the action. From hot new releases to offbeat gems, here are our recommendations for must-see movies, plus theaters and watering holes to check out during everyone's favorite slice of February.

The Movie: T2 Trainspotting

© Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH

Twenty years after Danny Boyle’s tale of modern addiction, self-destruction and fragility hit the screen, an equally raw and gut-wrenchingly beautiful sequel is out. The likes of Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald and Robert Carlyle reunite to feel the fury of their most intense feelings and selfish impulses. Early reviews look promising. Get ready for one wild ride.


Where to See It: Friedrichstadt-Palast

With its Roaring '20s charm and luscious interior, Friedrichstadt Palast provides the decadent setting that a movie like Trainspotting deserves to be viewed in. This venue will be in high demand on a Saturday afternoon, so reserve your tickets online ASAP.
Where: Friedrichstraße 107, 10117 Berlin
When: Feb. 11, 3:30 p.m.
More info & showtimes: berlinale.de


Where to Go Afterward: Hackendahl

via Facebook

Hackendahl has an unmatched number of handpicked gins and whiskeys, as well as more than a few beer varieties. Classically rustic and far from the more corporate and clean cocktail world that’s conquered certain parts of Mitte, Hackendahl has the soul to soothe any post-Trainspotting aftershock. Reservations are recommended.
Friedrichstraße 128, 10117 Berlin. +49 30 68001718​; hackendahl-berlin.de


Movie: Beuys

© zeroonefilm/ bpk ErnstvonSiemensKunststiftung StiftungMuseumSchlossMoyland

One of the most avant-garde names in modern art (and that’s really saying something), Joseph Beuys dared to deconstruct the millions of little details that make up this crazy thing we all call reality, and try to reform it. He believed that art could transform society through “social sculpture,” and this latest doc about his life contains previously unreleased recordings and videos straight from the archives.  


Where to See It: Haus Der Berliner Festspiele

Given that Joseph Beuys was an esteemed lecturer, it’s only appropriate to see a documentary about him right by the music building of Berlin’s Universität der Künste (university of the arts) at the Haus Der Berliner Festspiele. Host to an array of cultural events, it’s a conceptual artist’s home base. This will be one mind-bending way to start the day.
Where: Schaperstraße 24, 10719 Berlin
When: Feb. 15, 9:30 a.m.
More info & showtimes: berlinale.de


Where to Go Afterward: Nicos Süßes Atelier

via Website

A morning movie calls for a morning treat. Nicos is sweet-tooth central for anyone seeking a post-film pick-me-up. The old-school assortments of cakes, tarts and other German favorites makes it easy to smother your artistic angst with chocolate syrup.
Fasanenstraße 42, 10719 Berlin. +49 30 88774688​; nicossuessesatelier.de


Movie: Everything (Short Film)

© David OReilly, 2017

If the celeb-infested or the ultra-artsy isn’t your gig, sometimes your best bet is a Berlinale short that runs with a just-crazy-enough-to-work premise. That’s what you'll get with Everything, a short film featuring a pastiche of video game images as philosopher Alan Watts talks about the trippy topic of simulated reality. This kind of wild card is what exploring Berlinale is all about.


Where to See It: City Kino Wedding

A quaint and quirky spot, this little theater is well off the star-studded path. Hot tickets and major events are a guarantee at film festivals, but sometimes the most memorable Berlinale moments aren’t found on the red carpet, but within the weird and wonderful worlds on the periphery.
Where: Müllerstraße 74, 13349 Berlin
When: Feb 16., 9:30 p.m.
More info & showtimes: berlinale.de


Where to Go Afterward: Basalt

via Facebook. Photo by Tabea Mathern

Masterful mixology is the norm at Basalt, defined by friendly vibes and beautiful modern decor, including striking emerald-green tiles. You'll find above-average cocktails in almost every category, but whiskey lovers especially will worship the smoky sour.  
Utrechter Straße 38, 13347 Berlin. Facebook

By Jesse Van Mouwerik

Berlin-based illustrator and columnist Jesse Van Mouwerik is an avid fan of art, whisky sours and being alive. When the aliens land, he will draw them a picture.