What makes bouncers so fascinating? Is it their work’s special mixture of arbitrary decision making and authority? Is it their ability to somehow determine which kind of hedonism is allowed within a club’s walls? Whatever it is, it certainly says something about our society that we are fascinated by the people that tell us “no”.
A new documentary directed by David Dietl seeks to go deeper into the lives, histories and working practices of three of the German capital’s most famous doormen. Berlin Bouncer tells the story of Sven Marquardt and Smiley Baldwin—both of whom are best known for their work at Berghain—as well as Frank Künster, who in the ’90s, worked at Delicious Donuts.
The film details each figure’s passage into club culture from their varied origins: Baldwin was an American GI guarding the Berlin border, Künster sought out the capital from the West, and Marquardt was a budding photographer from the East. Basti Schwarz from Tiefschwarz composed and oversaw the film’s music.
Berlin Bouncer will screen on February 10, 11 and 16 as part of the 69th Berlinale film festival program before a wider release in April. Tickets are available via the Berlinale website. You can watch a trailer for the film above.