Berlin reveals contacts with Deutsche Bank amid merger talks

Deutsche Bank’s Chief Executive had a series of meetings with Germany’s deputy finance minister before and immediately after it announced merger talks with a state-backed rival, according to information revealed by the government.


Reuters: Business News

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Berlin Film Festival Review: Fatih Akin Loses His Touch with Brutal, Punishing The Golden Glove

Of all the movies playing in competition here at the 69th Berlin Film Festival—officially known as the Berlinale—Fatih Akin’s The Golden Glove was the one with the most potential to make a splash Stateside.

That was until people actually saw it.

Akin, born in Germany and of Turkish heritage, is one of the most respected and just plain liked filmmakers in Germany. American audiences may be most familiar with his marvelous 2004 breakout film Head-On (its German title is Gegen die Wand, translating roughly to “Against the Wall”), in which an emotionally troubled young woman from a repressive Turkish family (Sibel Kikilli) talks her way into a platonic marriage with a decrepit fortyish rogue who has drunk a little too deeply from the trough of rock’n’roll (Birol Ünel). It’s a gorgeous, vital film about displacement and belonging, both in the country where you live and with the person in bed next to you.

Akin has made other movies since then, of course: The most recent was the thoughtful crime thriller In the Fade (2017), which won that year’s Golden Globe for best foreign-language film. But nothing has captivated American audiences as Head On did. And now, with The Golden Glove, Akin pushes that potential audience even further away. Adapted from a novel by Heinz Strunk, a best-seller in Germany, The Golden Glove tells the story of real-life killer Fritz Honka (played by the young German actor Jonas Dassler, in heavy prosthetic makeup) who murdered—and dismembered—at least four women in Hamburg in the early 1970s. Akin doesn’t downplay the grisly details, and even though much of the horrific violence takes place just off-screen, there’s nothing discreet about it: The sound of a hacksaw carving its way through a woman’s neck doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Not even the guy who’s doing the deed wants to hear it; he interrupts the task at hand to slap a record on the hi-fi, though it’s not clear if the schmaltzy ballad he’s playing is designed to muffle the sound or turn the event into a kind of sick celebration.

Honka is a hardcore weirdo who hangs out at the bar, in Hamburg’s red light district, that gives the movie its title. This is a place where forgotten, broken people show up to obliterate not just their memories, but their lives. Some are pathetic and sad; others are downright mean. Honka, a hunched loner with a lazy eye and meaty, molten features, drinks, drinks and drinks some more. Booze fires up both his sex drive and his thirst for sadism. The movie opens with a half-glimpsed corpse lying on a dingy, rumpled bed—this is Honka’s first victim, her stockings constricting her chubby legs like sausage casings. After folding the body up and stuffing it into a garbage bag, he begins dragging it down the stairs of his attic flat—its head bumps along each stair with a muffled clunk, like a bowling ball wrapped in a scrap of cloth.

That’s before the first dismemberment—and at this point, we’re barely 10 minutes into the movie. The Golden Glove is a turnoff the minute it starts: The dim beige color palette, the recurring bludgeoning and blood-splattering, the way Akin observes Honka’s first grunting, aggravated act of body disposal (he acts as if the corpse has done him an inconvenience). Sometimes Akin’s tone is jaunty, particularly when he’s observing the Golden Glove’s patrons: In an early scene, the weatherbeaten bartender wears a shirt with a bunch of little shirts printed on it, one of those kitsch-classic 1970s numbers that reads like a little joke.

But the relentlessness of The Golden Glove is exhausting. Where has Akin gone? He’s not a passive observer—even here, he’s alive to everything he’s showing us, and you can almost read his brain vibrations on the screen. It’s not that he’s stopped thinking. But his movie is heartless, and tinged a rotten green with misogyny. Honka’s victims were older women, over 50, with faces that might once have been pretty but are now marred by broken teeth and sunken, dispirited eyes. You get the sense Akin is sympathetic, in theory at least, to these women—he’s too sensitive a filmmaker not to be. He takes pains to show how one of Honka’s almost-victims, the exceptionally sad-eyed Gerda (Margarete Tiesel), is so lacking in self-esteem that she can’t see anything abnormal in the way Honka verbally berates her. (Verbal berating is another one of this charmer’s skills.) And no matter how intense and repugnant The Golden Glove may be, it’s nowhere close to the destructive sadism of Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built—Akin’s film at least feels as if it were made by a human being, albeit a misguided one.

Even so, Akin is unsparing in the way he films these women’s bodies, with all their lumps, bumps and bulges. The film’s visual and spiritual ugliness is relentless and punishing, and Dassler’s performance is grim in its believability: With his shifty eyes, smudgy aviator glasses and swollen gums, Honka is the kind of guy you’d take great pains to avoid on the street. It’s impossible to feel anything for him, or to understand him, which is as it should be—he’s a monster. But then, do you really want to watch a whole movie about him?

The Golden Glove is, in the most basic sense, well constructed. It’s also the kind of movie you may end up wishing you’d never seen. Even hardcore Akin devotees should proceed with caution, and be ready for disillusionment. The craftsmanship is there. But Akin’s judgment has gone AWOL, and with it, his heart.


Entertainment – TIME

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Max Mara to Hold Resort 2020 Show in Berlin

MAX MARA ON THE ROAD: Max Mara is once again taking its resort collection on the road. The Italian fashion brand will show its 2020 resort collection in Berlin on June 3 in a location that has yet to be revealed.
Last year Max Mara held its resort show at the Collezione Maramotti museum of contemporary art works in Reggio Emilia, Italy, where the company is based. Max Mara is owned by the Maramotti family.
Before that, Shanghai was the stage for the brand’s pre-fall 2017 collection, London for its resort 2016 collection and New York for its pre-fall 2015 lineup.
The decision to show in Berlin underscores the relevance of the German market for the brand, which is designed by creative director Ian Griffiths.
As reported, Prada and Louis Vuitton will show their resort 2020 and cruise collections in New York, on May 2 and 8, respectively.

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Berlin auctioneer expects British, Russian interest in Hitler watercolours

The pictures – three anemic watercolours showing a mountain scene, a river and a distant figure sat beneath a tree – are little different from wares on sale at flea markets the world over, except for the autograph scratched in the corner: “A.Hitler”.


Reuters: Arts

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Four men go on trial for theft of giant gold coin from Berlin museum

Four men went on trial on Thursday for stealing a gold coin the size of a manhole cover from one of Germany’s flagship museums in a daring night-time heist using a ladder and a wheelbarrow.


Reuters: Arts

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The coolest bars Berlin has to offer

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Home of the famous Berlin Wall and the capital of one of Europe’s most entertaining and experienced-packed countries, Berlin is filled with vibrant streets, legendary parties, and cultural landmarks you just can’t miss. It’s a tourist destination that attracts millions of people from around the world every year. In addition, one of the things that Berlin is known for is it’s unique bar scene.

The bar culture in Berlin is something to be taken very seriously, as the city offers a wide variety of hip places to hang out. Here are some of the coolest bars that Berlin has to offer

The Green Door

Behind an actual green door lies The Green Door, a very popular cocktail bar that attracts a lot of tourists and deep-pocketed regulars who come to experience the classy lounge environment while sipping on one of their delicious cocktails from their impressive beverage menu. Their specialty? The Green Door cocktail that brings you a balanced mix of excellent champagne, lemon, sugar and a touch of mint. It’s a go-to bar you just can’t miss.

Das Hotel Bar

If you are looking for something a little more casual and relaxed, Berlin’s famous Das Hotel Bar is the place to go. It is located in the heart of Kreuzberg and is known to be one of the best places to visit in that area. With a variety of local drinks, live music, and shabby decor, you don’t have to worry about being too dressed up or worrying about your credit card being drained. Simply grab a chair, sit down with your friends and try their famous twist on the classic gin and tonic. But don’t let the casual look fool you as this place can get pretty packed during the weekends, so make sure you get there early if you want to grab yourself a table.

Klunkerkranich

Looking for a beautiful view with that beer? Located on top of a high building, the Klunkerkranich is the absolute best and top of the line rooftop bar in Berlin. Known to attract the youngsters of the city, this bar surely does the trick on a hot summer day or a spring night as you watch the sunset with a delicious drink in your hand. And unlike other places, this bar is far from pretentious. Maintaining a strong cultural vibe around an urban gardening scene, this bar is worth the three euro entrance fee that goes towards keeping the place green and supporting the live music that plays there every day. If you’re looking for a beautiful and relaxing place to grab a drink, Klunkerkranich is the place.

There is truly an endless list of spectacular bars in Berlin, all unique and interesting in their own way. From the refreshing open-mindedness of the Silver Future bar to the elegant and classic ORA bar, there really is a bar for every taste and budget. Sitting in a local bar is also a great way to bond with the community and to experience the culture of Germany, as you meet individuals who share their stories in places that resemble pieces of German history.

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