I finally got my copy of the Berlin Alexanderplatz box set. The scar from my black market kidney sale is healing nicely and I’ve already stopped peeing blood!
Seriously, Criterion did an awesome job with this one. And how great it is to see it again — I haven’t been able to see this since the late 80s and here it is again confirmed, the cinematic experience that struck me so hard when I was fourteen or fifteen. This was the film that showed me you have to be free in life at all costs, even if it makes people despise you or think you are strange. I feel like Proteus, rejuvenated and made strong again by touching the ground he came from.
There’s so much to talk about here, I don’t even know where to begin.
I actually just started to slowly make my way through Berlin again, for the third time. Two episodes yesterday, and only one today (busy with other films).
It’s one of the sheer and glorious mountains of cinema, alongside Satantango and The Decalogue, that all true lovers of the art must summit at least once in their lives. I had planned to attend the four day MOMA screening back in April of ‘07, but decided against it at the last minute, for reasons I’ve since forgotten.
And yes, whenever I think of the film, I deeply regret missing out on that experience. Oh, the shame!
My first double post… Awesome!
I’ll use this space to also mention that I’m such a movie/Criterion nerd, that I have the Eric Skillman drawing of the caged canary from the booklet of Berlin Alexanderplatz tattooed on my right arm.
Brandon, that’s really cool. The art in the booklet is very beautiful.
Did anyone catch the Criterion blog post where they showed the various drafts of artwork for the set? It was very very interesting, I wish they would show the process involved for all their releases (whoever thought the artwork for Danton and Dodes Kaden were reasonable ought to be canned).
I think the final design was based on an exhibit for an Egon Schiele retrospective designed (if memory seves) by the artist himself. Pretty awesome. I don’t have a link, but this blog entry shouldn’t be hard to find.
I’m looking forward to checking this out, been on my radar for a few years. A professor of mine a few years ago saw it on the big screen after they struck new prints, said it’s never looked better.
Here’s the Criterion blog about Skillman’s design process for the Berlin boxset http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/719
As for that guy who should be canned for designing the Dodes’ka-den cover, Patrick, that would be none other than Akira Kurosawa himself.
NO WAY! Brandon, that makes me sad.
Wow….. it’s so unattractive. They should most certainly can him from the graphic design department. I understand he was a painter, but I didn’t know he was apparently a crappy one.
Oh well, he can’t be a genius in every venture.
I have the posters
I am reviving this thread to continue discussion on this important film.
Note to Justin: I finished watching this a while back, after getting stalled at the slaughterhouse scene in vol. 1 (as you may remember). I wondered what in the world was going on with that bizarre ending – any ideas? Surely, top-notch Fassbinder. Anyone can jump in here, too.
Fassbinder was obsessed with abattoirs (see In a Year of Thirteen Moons). A non-apologist, he used them as a reminder of Germany’s brutal past.
Actually it was a reminder of his lover’s past. Armin worked in one.
does anyone know why this title isn’t listed on the site?
Adriana, it’s here
weird… when i searched for it yesterday it didn’t come up. I probably didn’t spell it right… thanks Justin.
I still haven’t got through it yet. It’s too big. I’m still hyped that I only paid $60 for it.
This is a film that is not to be missed by anyone interested in the art. I agree with Brandon in that it’s one of the truly monumental events that is impossible to be missed. I’ve watched it 3x thus far and it gets much more enjoyable with each repeated viewing. I know at this running time repeat viewings can be daunting, but you get over that quickly. As for the ending, it’s perfect. What else would there be?
I haven’t really seen a Fassbinder film I disliked so far and I’ve pretty much seen the complete works (within reason, some are just unavailable…period). I wish MoMa would do a little something-something on him again. That would be enjoyable.
“I have the Eric Skillman drawing of the caged canary from the booklet of Berlin Alexanderplatz tattooed on my right arm.”
That is a really great idea for a tattoo.
I am about halfway into BA, and all I can say is that it’s both amazing and amazingly frustrating at times, in that the stream-of-consciousness Joycesque dialogue tends to be really distracting; but the brutal honesty and realism make up for it.
Yes, there’s often an enornous tension between what you are seeing and what you are hearing — i.e., the repeated scenes where Ida is killed. It’s very much like reading a book where many things “point back” to other events.
Fassbinder acomplishes with “Berlin Alexanderplatz” what Stroheim tried and failed to do with “Greed” — put an entire novel onto film. It’s truly rich and multi-faceted and not a nanosecond of it bores.
Whoa, now…Strohiem failed because he was ahead of his time. “Greed” was TAKEN from him, butchered and left on the cutting room floor. Anyone who knocks Stroheim doesn’t know the whole story, Stroheim dreamed of the day when cinema could be seen in parts, he envisioned “Greed” this way, but the studios told him he was crazy and nobody would want to watch that.
“Greed” was 9.5 hours long originally. I’m sure if we could’ve seen the entire thing, it would’ve played out very similarly to “Alexanderplatz”!
Fassbinder’s work is what Stroheim dreamed of! I wonder if Fassbinder knew of his work, they were truly kindered spirits.