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 Criterion Collection
Rainer Werner Fassbinder (May 31, 1945 – June 10, 1982) was born into a cultured bourgeois family in the small Bavarian spa town Bad Wörishofen. Raised by his mother as an only child, the boy had only sporadic contact with his father, a doctor, after the divorce of his parents when he was five. Educated at a Rudolf Steiner elementary school and subsequently in Munich and Augsburg, the city of Bert Brecht, he left school before passing any final examinations. A cinema addict (“five times a week, often three films a day”) from a very early age, not least because his mother needed peace and quiet for her work as a translator, “the cinema was the family life I never had at home.”
Fassbinder made his first short films at the age of twenty, persuading a male lover to finance them in exchange for leading roles. He also applied for a place at the Berlin Film School (dffb), but was refused. He acted in both his early films: DER STADTSTREICHER (The City Tramp), which also featured Irm… read more
Fassbinder would go on to make more films before his early death but this mammoth project is the summation of his magnificent and prolific career. Most of the actors who appeared regularly in his earlier work are reassembled for an epic adaptation of Döblin’s novel. In a film so long there are bound to be longeurs but on the whole it is absolutely sublime with a lead performance of sustained brilliance by Lamprecht..
Fassbinder's sprawling 15 1/2-hour adaptation of Alfred Döblin's novel "Berlin Alexanderplatz" chronicles Franz Biberkopf's life whose prison release after serving time for killing his girlfriend is propelled in a spiraling descent of corruption and crime. Set in Alexanderplatz - Berlin's bustling urban center - during the years before the Nazi era, Biberkopf's story is entangled in a net of human folly and evil.
On September 5, 2008, 400 people, including directors Romuald Karmakar, Volker Koepp, Rosa von Praunheim and Andres Veiel, in 80 teams fanned
First they worm their way into your heart and then they spring their nasty surprises. Only, you are not a saint, you are just as bad as the worst of them. The only difference is that you know it. You… read review
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s detailed and sprawling 14-part adaptation of Alfred Doblin’s 1929 modernist tract is one of the director’s most revered films, brutalized in its day for over indulgence… read review