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Layover in Frankfurt no#4 – The Deutsches Filmmuseum

This is part 4 of what I hope to be a long series of layovers in Frankfurt. Given that the Frankfurt airport is a major international hub, I’m hoping to be there often 😀 This time I was on my way back from Scotland and had just a couple of hours spend in the town.

As I went through the small Frankfurt guide I had, I noticed a museum that seemed interesting: the Deutsches Filmmuseum. So I decided to head there and see if I get the time to visit it all during the layover. I managed to visit most of it and then go for a short walk though the city center on the way back to the train station.

The museum has two parts, a permanent exhibition spanning on two floors and some temporary exhibitions. I only had time to see the permanent exhibition and I loved it!

The first part is entitled ‘Filmic vision’ and deals with the historical development of visual media and the second part, called ‘Filmic narrative’ focuses on the effect of film and filmic story telling.

The first floor is full of pictures and various instruments from the 18th and 19th centuries, up to the invention of the cinema. It’s like the pre-history of film and cinema 🙂 The exhibition focuses both on the development of techniques and equipment and the cultural-historical aspects. I’ve never seen or heard of many of them so it was a very interesting and informative visit. I also learned some new words! mutoscope and praxinoscope 😀 You also get to see how many of them work thanks to the models on display. I spent a couple of minutes checking each of them out! There’s also a camera obscura and lots of optical illusions.

The other floor of the exhibition houses more modern equipment. Which you also get to play with! The focus is on the variety of cinema’s creative resources and their function in the telling of a film story. There are four sections: sound, light, editing and special effects. Each of them had some objects and informative panels and also a small interactive set. On the special effects set they make a huge mantis follow you around, I barely escaped! Phew!

Film museum Frankfurt


You also get to see if you have what it takes to be able to choose the right music for certain famous movies and to try your hand at editing movies. Of course I knew that editing is a huge part of making movies and maximizing the total effect of a scene, but it’s easier to understand exactly how big its role actually is when you experience it directly at the station.

There’s also a small room where you get to play with lights in order to mimic the light effects from some famous movies. Here’s me in one of them! Can you recognize the movie?

light effects

light effects

I hope you can … as I forgot what it was. 🙁

At the center of the second floor there are four huge screens that show a 40 minute installation of excerpts from more than 100 films. Various coordinated scenes are shown in parallel, their interplay illustrates the themes of this part of the exhibition: image, sound, editing and acting. This one confused me honestly, I much more preferred the rest of the floor when I got to play with the machines 😀

There is also a room where they show really old movies, starting from the beginning of 1900s! But I didn’t have enough time to watch them, you need around 40 minute to watch all!

In the basement there’s also a cinema where a daily changing programme of international films from all era is shown. That is if you have more time to spend there 🙂

Overall, I really enjoyed the visit, I really loved that they made it so interactive! I’ve certainly learnt a lot of new info on film making and its history. When I’ll have a bit more time to spend in Frankfurt, I’ll surely go there again, to watch all those old movies and play with the apparatuses again! 🙂

Did you visit this museum? How well did you do in the editing section?

Useful info:

  • the train trip from the airport to the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) takes about 15-20 minutes and there’s usually one train at every 20-30 minutes
  • the train ride costs 4.35 eu one way or 8.5 eu roundtrip
  • entrance fee to the museum is 6 euros; you will also need a 10 euro cents coin to start one of the machines inside
  • Opening Hours: Tue to Su 10:00 – 18:00, Wed 10:00 – 20:00, Mo closed
  • more info on the museum here 
  • search for great accommodation in Frankfurt

Here’s the map with the train station and the film museum, it takes around 15-20 minutes to get to the museum by foot:

Center map
Get Directions

trip date: June 2014

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