a film by Thomas Grube, Enrique Sánchez Lansch


Germany | 2004 | 100:00 min

Content Categories

This Box Office hit is about Marie, Martin, Olayinka and 250 kids and teenagers who never danced or listened to classical music when they faced their biggest challenge: to perform Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ with Sir Simon Rattle and the legendary Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra!

Berlin, one cold January day. Amazing things are happening in the Arena down at Berlin’s industrial harbour. 250 Berlin schoolchildren from 25 different nationalities and socially difficult neighbourhoods are dancing to Stravinsky‘s 'Rite of Spring' choreographed by Royston Maldoom and accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under its chief conductor, Sir Simon Rattle.

RHYTHM IS IT! follows the fascinating process leading to a breathtaking performance. It shows the first efforts at dancing made by these very diverse youngsters, few of whom had prior knowledge of classical music and dance. A touching adventure spanning three-months of rehearsals which shows the perseverance, affection and patience with which Royston Maldoom and his assistant Susannah Broughton care for them while the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is rehearsing during the same period.

Through the eyes of three young protagonists we take part in the project‘s development, its ups and downs, doubts and enthusiasms, uncertainties and renewals of self-confidence. Marie, 15, who is desperately trying to pass her secondary school exams; Olayinka, 16, who has recently arrived as a war-orphan from Nigeria and Martin, 19, who is battling to overcome his inhibitions. They never had a chance so far, but as dancers they suddenly discover their real potentials. This is a fascinating journey into new, undreamed-of worlds which reveal surprising facets of the their personalities. An emotional ravishment into hidden worlds present in all of us.

This film also marks the start of a new era - one in which the orchestra strides confidently forth from behind the golden walls of the Philharmonic to other, darker regions of society. In this respect too, this film is an arresting historical document.

RHYTHM IS IT! is a beautiful cinematic experience full of passion, respect and zest for life.
German Film Award - Best Documentary
German Film Awards - Best Editing
Best Documentary - Bavarian Film Award
German Critic Award
Best DVD of the Year _ ECHO Classic
Cast and Crew
  • Director Thomas Grube, Enrique Sánchez Lansch
  • Producer Uwe Dierks, Thomas Grube, Andrea Thilo
  • Director of Photography René Dame, Marcus Winterbauer
  • Editor Dirk Grau, Martin Hoffmann (Martin Hoffmann)
Original Languages



Production Company
Köthener Str. 5, 10963 Berlin

Fax: +49 30 81452950

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