“The House of Dreams” is the sumptuous title of a new history series that is based on Sybil Volks’s novel “Torstraße 1” and will appear on the RTL+ streaming service in just a few days. This describes the famous Jonass department store, which was one of the first of its kind to be opened by a Jewish family in Berlin in 1929 – and thus at a time that, a few years before the Nazis seized power, was not only characterized by a spirit of cultural optimism, but also marked by dramatic political developments.
Against this historical background, we get to know the young Vicky Maler (Naemi Florez) in the series, who has made it from the provinces to the big city with big dreams in her luggage. Here she quickly gets a job as a saleswoman in the said department store and thus comes into contact with the world of the beautiful and the rich – especially through the supposedly penniless pianist Harry (Ludwig Simon). He soon turns out to be the son of the department store owner – and yet a love that transcends class boundaries develops between the two, which is also put to the test in the face of burgeoning currents in the country…
Already in the hit series “Babylon Berlin” the team from XFilme Creative Pool has impressively brought the 1920s back to life. In “The House of Dreams”, the renowned production forge is now undertaking a journey back into the eventful decade, even if this time the hustle and bustle of the time is primarily focused on one place in Berlin: As a lively and colossal main location, the Jonass department store almost becomes a character in its own right in the plotwhich brings together the most diverse personalities.
In order to do justice to the historic building, the creative team around the director duo Sherry Hormann (“3096 Days”) and Umut Dağ (“The Power of Insult”) have put a lot of effort into it. It all started with the search for the right real setting. Although the former department store is still there today, the interior is a long way from its former appearance. After the house first served as the headquarters of the Hitler Youth after the Nazis expropriated the Jewish owners and then housed the SED Central Committee during the GDR era, it now functions as a private club with a hotel business under the name Soho House.
For this reason, the opulent department store in Görlitz was chosen for the shooting of “The House of Dreams”., which also served as the backdrop for Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel”. Built in Art Nouveau style in 1913, the once Jewish building is the only department store of its era that still exists today in its original structural form. Nevertheless, another eight weeks were spent to construct an interior fitting that was true to the original. There was also a complete replica of the magnificent roof terrace, on which the scenes were filmed in front of a green screen so that the Berlin of 1929 could be digitally inserted in post-production.
During this construction period of several weeks, up to 80 people were busy transforming the Görlitz department store into the Jonass department store – and not just for the interior shots. When shooting from the outside, however, computer effects were also used here to match the facade and surroundings to the real template.
The result can soon be admired: “The House of Dreams” starts on September 18, 2022 on RTL +. The first six episodes are then available for download. The remaining six episodes will follow at a later date. A free TV broadcast on RTL is also planned for the end of the year.