words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Weekly Movie-Making Moments In Film: Berlin Alexanderplatz by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

A scene from Berlin Alexanderplatz

It is 2012, and thanks to the Criterion Collection and NetFlix I am able this weekend to once again view the epic masterpiece Berlin Alexanderplatz by Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In the 1980’s Philadelphia’s PBS station WHYY aired the entire 16 hour film. I was totally amazed at the dark story of a man and his descent into a personal hell; as well as its historical portrayal of Germany in the pre-Nazi era. This is a disturbing film, yet beautiful and engrossing. It’s cinematography and storytelling captures the imagination with vivid realism.

Here is a short synopsis.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s controversial, fifteen-hour-plus Berlin Alexanderplatz, based on Alfred Döblin’s great modernist novel, was the crowning achievement of a prolific director who, at age thirty-four, had already made forty films. Fassbinder’s immersive epic, restored in 2006 and now available on DVD in this country for the first time, follows the hulking, childlike ex-convict Franz Biberkopf (Günter Lamprecht) as he attempts to “become an honest soul” amid the corrosive urban landscape of Weimar-era Germany. With equal parts cynicism and humanity, Fassbinder details a mammoth portrait of a common man struggling to survive in a viciously uncommon time.

The English trailer for the film Berlin Alexanderplatz

http://youtu.be/qTjFWAvJTvI

A short tribute to a modern Berlin Alexanderplatz

http://youtu.be/wC2equOfOvc

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