Gerhard Gross and the cinema in the courtyards: 27 years of programs

leerer Saal mit rotem Vorhang
September 2023

Gerhard Gross has been running the “Hackesche Höfe Kino” since 27 years – with passion and an ambitious concept.

It’s no cake walk for visitors to the cinema in the Hackesche Höfe: They have to climb up four floors on foot to watch a film. Anyone who still manages to successfully run a cinema under these conditions for 27 years must have done a lot right.

Photo right: Per aspera ad astram: An Art Nouveau staircase leads to the movie theater.

Rebirth of the Hackesche Höfe

Gerhard Gross is a pioneer. He witnessed the rebirth of the Hackesche Höfe in the 1990s from the very beginning – and made his contribution with his cinema. Planning began in 1993. Planting four movie theaters and a lot of technology in a listed building was a challenge. But the new cinema was part of a tradition: There had already been one in the Hackesche Höfe in the 1920s. The cinema in the "Hackesche-Höfe-Kino” opened in 1996.

Curated Program

From the beginning, there was this concept: no Hollywood blockbusters three times a day over a period of weeks, but "repertory cinema": Gross wanted to show a variety of films and selected films at the same time. He found an appreciative audience in Berlin-Mitte, which was still quite wild at the time, characterized by squatters and artists.

Kinosaaal mit Publikumk

Specials for Cineastes

The neighborhood has been completely transformed since then. With new audiences, the focus has changed. But Gross is proud to have remained largely true to his initial concept. In a cinema landscape dominated by chains, he and his team, which includes his wife Ulrike Spann, continue to plan their own ambitious programs.

These include specials for cineastes, where classic films are projected on 35mm celluloid material every Friday. On the occasion of the film "Oppenheimer", films by director Christopher Nolan will be screened in a retrospective in this series in September.

Photo left: Gerhard Gross and the team of his movie theater

Podcast with Gerhard Gross

You can also experience Gerhard Gross in "Höfegeflüster" – this is the podcast from the Hackesche Höfe: Journalist Sebastian Späth meets people who live, love, work, think and dream in the Hackesche Höfe. In the second episode, Gerhard Gross tells us how he got to Berlin, to cinema and into the Hackesche Höfe. The Podcast is in German language.

Find the episode here.