Thrity years since I first saw Berlin Alexanderplatz by Fassbinder

To all my Georgetown friends (I think it was Prusa, McKay, Duda, Ehrehfeld?) who accompanied me, and then abandoned me (actually I don’t remember who actually lasted through the  15 1/2  hours of movie…), here are the scenes/images/thoughts I remember quite vividly:

  • Reinhold kills Mieze in the forest.  For me this remains in my memory as an amazing expression of the horror of doing something calculatingly heinous.  Fassbinder sets it like a Grimm Brothers story, in a dark forest, with sunlight slanting through.  When Reinhold shows his anvil tattoo, you just stop breathing.
  • The piece of machinery in Franz’s room.  A printing press? See comments here.  What director foregrounds a large piece of machinery over and over!?
  • Franz drinks (and talks to) his many beers.  I do this myself now when I am in a bar, alone (which is often?)
  • Kraftwerk “Radioactivity” and Glenn Miller “In the Mood” (written by Andy Razaf?) in the dream epilogue…. OMG like totally amazing!
  • At the socialist political meeting, thinking of Mieze sucking his fingers.
  • The homoerotic tension between Reinhold and Franz… in the bathroom scene was it?
  • Franz, broken, without an arm, cleaning the Mercedes Benz in the “new” Germany.
  • Hannah Schygulla as Eva… I wanted to be married to her, why not?
  • Franz and Mieze in the abbatoir…

A truly amazing comprehensive review is here.  Another great review is here.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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