The Messedamm suburbs of Berlin may not be a must-visit for most tourists, except perhaps to see the Radio Tower, but it’s still an amazing neighborhood full of photogenic, retro-futuristic charms. For one thing, the iconic International Congress Center building looks straight out of 1970s sci-fi cinema, and the pedestrian underpass nearby is an unexpectedly popular supporting actor in Hollywood blockbusters.
It made its cinematic debut in the 2004 spy-actioner The Bourne Supremacy and broke through as a star in the 2011 film Hanna, in which the underpass appeared in its jaw-dropping three-minute-long take, a deadly fight scene set in a Berlin metro station. It was at the suggestion of Markus Bensch, the location manager for the Filmstudio Babelsberg, that the director Joe Wright and his crew decided to film the scene there, inadvertently igniting a new Hollywood trend.
Soon after, the Messedamm underpass appeared in Mockingjay - Part 2, the last installment of The Hunger Games series, the Marvel Studios film Captain America: Civil War, and the explosive Charlize Theron-starring thriller Atomic Blonde, released in the short span of 2015-2017. In whichever movie it stars in, its orange-tiled pillars are nearly impossible to miss, giving the scene a distinctive, idiosyncratic feel.
Though one might expect it to have become a clichéd filming location by now, it still occasionally pops up on the screen, both small and big. And if it hasn’t had a notable role in a few years, it only means that it’s waiting for the next big break.