Dancing, drugs and death - The excesses of Berlin’s club culture

  • Published 3 weeks ago
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Berlin is the unofficial nightlife capital of the world. This makes it a magnet for partygoers looking for hedonistic release.
But that excitement sometimes ends in tragedy, as in the case of a young American woman who died of a drug overdose at Berghain, the city’s most iconic club.
Are recreational drugs tolerated within club culture? If so, what responsibility lies with the clubs themselves? What responsibility lies with police and policymakers?
When Jenifer and Carlo manage to get into Berghain, they can hardly believe their luck. Like many in the club that night, the two young Americans take ecstasy. A few hours’ later, Jenifer dies from multiple organ failure.
Carla Röthig’s documentary centers on interviews with people at the heart of this party scene. Roman Shamov worked as a barkeeper at Berghain for many years and is shocked at the young woman’s death.
He and other Berlin nightlife protagonists explore the fascination of the city’s club scene - and that of Berghain in particular. Raimund Reintjes is spokesman for the Berlin Clubcommission, a mouthpiece for Berlin’s clubs and event organizers. Together with Olaf Schremm, head of the capital’s police narcotics squad, he explains the allure of Berlin’s nightlife and the challenges posed by the drug scene.
Why do people take drugs in the first place? What are the risks involved? Dr. Andrea Jungaberle is an emergency room doctor who’s dealt with a wide range of drug-related cases. The filmmaker also speaks to Rüdiger Schmolke from the Berlin drug prevention project SONAR. Can cases like the Berghain death be avoided in future?

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