I only saw Cabaret for the first time three years ago, but of course I fell in love with it immediately and wondered what took me so long to discover it. Liza is beautiful and so freaking lovable (my favorite thing about her) and I adore the stylized version of cabaret portrayed by the film. Everything about it is so gorgeous-- the characters (Joel Grey as the emcee!), the makeup, costumes, language, and most of all the picture of what it must have felt like as a young person in Germany during the Weimar Republic, when the city was alive with creativity but the Nazi Party was a steadily growing threat.
German is the only other language that I've ever felt I could actually learn (unlike high school French, which was terrifying). I took an intro class during my last semester of college and actually enjoyed it, and it's a goal of mine to continue studying and become fluent at some point. After class one day, my German professor let me borrow her book called The Cabaret by Lisa Appignanesi and I liked it so much that I bought a copy for myself. It's a great resource for anyone interested in the history of Cabaret; it begins with Le Chat Noir and the Moulin Rouge in Montmarte and goes into the spread of cabarets throughout Europe-- Moscow, Vienna, Budapest, and (of course, my favorite) German Kabarett.
Program from Cabaret Fledermaus, 1907, Vienna.
The Weimar Period is one of my favorite artistic eras; it was full of sex, drugs, lust, doom, glam, and decadence-- what's not to love about that? It was a huge influence on David Bowie and Iggy Pop when they were exploring Berlin in the '70s, so of course it always reminds me of them. If it were up to me to write a lovely anachronistic film about Weimar culture à la Marie Antoinette, I could see Iggy's "Nightclubbing" and "Fun Time" fitting right in amongst the seedy clubs and avant-garde performances.
A few favorites:
Otto Dix, Grosstadt Triptych (right panel), 1928.
George Grosz, The Lovesick Man, 1914.
Christian Schad, Maika, 1929
Otto Dix, Sylvia von Harden, 1927
Christian Schad, Two Girls, 1928
Christian Schad, Count St. Genois d'Anneaucourt, 1927
*Program from Cabaret Fledermaus, Grosstadt Triptych, and The Lovesick Man from The Cabaret; all other images from Google.