4 From Stadium to Street: Generations and Gentrification in Berlin Pool Scenes
Contested, detested and admired, Leni Riefenstahl’s two ‘Olympia’ films not only shaped the image of Olympic coverage into the present day, but pioneered techniques new to film. The second of these pseudo-documentary films, Olympia: Fest der Schönheit (Olympia: Festival of Beauty, Germany, 1938), contains extensive swimming and diving footage shot during and after the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Undoubtedly one of the most significant pool scenes in film history, it can be read as both a predecessor and a point of contrast to two other Berlin pool scenes, both from feature films, Georg Tressler’s Die Halbstarken (Teenage Wolf Pack, West Germany, 1956) and Tom Tykwer’s Drei (Three, Germany, 2010). These films all feature real-life pools which survive intact to the present day, sites which reveal much about the city’s widely celebrated gentrification. The Olympic pool remains much as it was, a grand and ominous relic of the 1936 Games. The West Berlin pool in Teenage Wolf Pack is now a nightclub and exhibition space, while the floating, heated pool in Three abuts the former course of the Berlin Wall.
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