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Alternative historical narratives in film

What would have happened if history had taken a different course, if different decisions had been made at a certain point? What would have been the effects of this change of direction? It is a popular motif in the arts, and of movies and television productions in particular, to create alternative historical scenarios in the realm of fiction and to imagine a different history.

Veranstaltungen in Berlin: Roads not Taken
© Getty Images, Foto: KTSDESIGN

These mind games develop a particularly high level of imagination when speculating about the history of the "Third Reich." What would have happened if German troops had occupied England, if the German Wehrmacht had won World War II, and if Hitler had survived? It is questions like these that the films in the retrospective Roads not Taken. Alternative Historical Narratives in Film address.


The films selected by Mathias Barkhausen move between seriousness and playful provocation. While the older examples, which react to contemporary threats, want to warn and appeal to become aware of the fragile status of the present, a humorous view of history creeps in with increasing temporal distance, a play with media images of history.

In contrast to the exhibition of the German Historical Museum Roads not Taken. Or: It Could Have Been Different, which aims to raise awareness of the history that actually occurred, the films in the retrospective speculate on other historical courses, alternative historical scenarios.


With the retrospective Roads not Taken. Alternative historical narratives in film, the Zeughauskino not only starts into the new year 2023, it also changes its venue.

During construction work in the Zeughaus, the Zeughauskino will be at home in the Pei Building of the German Historical Museum from January 6, 2023.
There, a cinema hall has been created in the auditorium, with a projector for digital copies as well as projection technology for 35mm prints, and a piano is available to accompany silent films. We are pleased to be able to bridge the period of construction work in this fine location and continue to present our film history programs to a curious audience.