Posts Tagged “Fassbinder”


12.22.2013  |  By

Rainer Werner Fassbinder finished Querelle this year, and started work on another film, this next one called Rosa L. On June 10 the script for this project, based on the life of Rosa Luxemburg, is beside him when he’s found at 3:30 a.m. by his editor and companion, Juliane Lorenz, quite dead, a cigarette still between his lips.

These are the years: 1964, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1989, and 1993, 1999, and 2003, and also the future years which do not have numbers yet, nor names, but are given all numbers and names. These are the ages of man: first cry... More

Farewell, Franz Biberkopf, our extraordinary ordinary man

07.03.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

And so at last we bid our beloved friend Franz Biberkopf goodbye. It’s been a long but wonderful month watching, thinking, and talking together with everyone about all things Berlin A & RWF. Farewell Mieze, farewell Lina, farewell Franzë, Cilly, Ida, Pums, Meck—look, even in a blogpost I’m loathe to wish “fare well” to those awful villains Rheinhold & Luders!—

Dominic & I both want to thank all of our round-table-ees: Brandon, Cynthia, Julian, & Stephen, as well as Brecht our projectionist, Dana Ward our Cincinnati correspondent, and everyone else who’s been along with us in the theater on Thursdays and Saturdays, and in the comment boxes all along the way.

It seems kind of sweetly fitting to close with this last post in from Dana Ward, who didn’t quite make the summit with us:


“…What a shame for me that just as I had calibrated the pace of my reading with the bundles of your viewing, I w... More

Berlin Alexanderplatz: Epilogue: Redux:

07.02.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Another illuminating post from Brecht Andersch, our projectionist and Berlin Alexanderplatz expert-in-residence, as we wind our way down:]

Hanna Schygulla has said that Fassbinder told her he identified profoundly with all three main characters of Alexanderplatz; “I am Biberkopf, Reinhold, and even Mieze, too.” He had discovered the novel at the age of fourteen, and it served as a mirror to this budding genius, reflecting back the splits within his own psyche. He used his experiences as petri-dish experiments in order to acquire both self-knowledge and an understanding of his world, and his findings became increasingly disturbing: humans, through their own natural needs – love, security, self-protection, etc. – were, consequent to their acquiescence to the powerful, or to the power of the collective, the source of their own oppression. The only answer lay in further, deeper self-knowledge – but how to achieve this in a nation of “StupidheadsR... More

RWF: My Dream from the Dream of Franz Biberkopf

06.28.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Or, the other side of the mountain. The BA roundtable/support group on the last round of Fassbinder’s epic masterpiece. We’ll wind down our discussion over the next few days. Ms. Heidi at Engineer’s Daughter says everyone deserves a t-shirt; I’m like to agree that all of you readers do too.]


Well, we watched Berlin Alexanderplatz.

I found everyone’s responses last week to be, to varying extents, trying to come to terms with the violence Franz displays against Mieze. The violence and initial recuperation took place at the very end of our screening. Even if indeed some of the bloggers may have been “tip-toeing” around it, everyone (including commenters) seemed to be trying to situate the crisis in terms of Franz’s character. Was it jealousy that provoked hi... More

From our B. Alexanderplatz projectionist: part 2

06.26.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Who isn’t at least a little in love with the sweet creature Mieze? I have so many feelings of excitement & anxious anticipation for tonight’s Berlin Alexanderplatz finale! Here to give us a sweeping recap and analysis of much of what we’ve seen thus far, is our projectionist Brecht. If you haven’t been following along to date, you can see ALL our Alexanderplatz posts by clicking the tag Mount-Everest-of-modern-cinema. See you tonight!]


Early in the film, Franz visits the sister of his manslaug... More

Eternities Between Many and Few: Part 2

06.23.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Continuing our month-long discussion of Berlin Alexanderplatz]

Brandon, Dom, Suzanne,

Forgive me for saying so, but I think you’ve been tiptoeing around what all of us experienced as a profoundly disturbing passage of film – the last forty minutes of episode eleven, wherein Franz tries to murder Mieze, the person he loves most, in exactly the same way, in exactly the same place, as he murdered Ida. Indeed Fassbinder insists on this disconcerting repetition, replaying Ida’s murder three times in the previous episodes, investing it with an ominous and totemic power.

If these scenes don’t erase my great enjoyment of the series so far, they certainly transform, violently, the terms of that enjoyment. It’s not just the beating that Franz inflicts. Unbearable as it is, we at least know it is coming. What is so horrible is first the character of Mieze’s anguish – a strangulated screaming that goes on for what feels like minutes. Is any moment in cinema so raw and devastati... More

About the Eternities Between the Many and the Few

06.21.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

Hi readers! It’s Brandon, just here in small print to say how happy I am that this conversation has continued here on the blog! If it is the Mount Everest of modern cinema, then I think we’re seeing some clouds breaking at the top. Which is exciting, and terrifying! See you in the comment box!

We made it through another thrillin... More

Berlin Alexanderplatz., to be con’t

06.20.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

For everyone looking for the Berlin Alexanderplatz support/discussion group posts, you can catch up with us by following the tag Mount-Everest-of-modern-cinema. We’ll post the next support-group installment sometime on Saturday.


06.16.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

……This just in from Julian, who’s sticking it out with us for the Thursday night duration…..

I want to follow up on Brecht’s fantastic post. He mentions in his description the “cynical yet upbeat tone of Weimar culture.” Insofar as the series has a theme, it might be this mindset and way of viewing the world; atrocities occur, but are met by a strange and passive acceptance. Franz loses his arm and barely seems to react. The newspaperman has his balls removed one after the other, but well, ever forward. I recalled Hannah Arendt’s puzzlement, in her analysis of Adolf Eichmann’s 1961 trial in Jerusalem, over the “odd limits” of his conscience. I want to say that Fassbinder presents Franz as inhabiting a particular, peculiar, brittle, false sort of innocence – if that didn’t immediately sound so daft. (We know what is coming…)

To recall just a few moments that have stuck... More

Biberkopf: “Stupidhead”

06.16.2008  |  By
Filed under: Essay

[Joining our ongoing discussion of Berlin Alexanderplatz is BRECHT ANDERSCH, our projectionist, who is seeing the film with us for THE SIXTH TIME. Brecht has, not surprisingly! a lot to say, please click “more” below for the full article. Welcome Brecht!]

Palo Alto, 1984. I’m employed for the first time as a projectionist at the ... More

Even An Oath Can Be Amputated

06.14.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

Hi readers! It’s Brandon, just here in small print to say how happy I am that this conversation is continuing here on OPEN SPACE, pertaining to Fassbinder’s epic (and ever more enjoyable) Berlin Alexanderplatz. Comments are not only welcomed but highly encouraged. Enjoy!

Much of our discussion of the first episodes of Berlin Alexanderplatz explored Franz’s character as a subject from psychoanalytic and socioeconomic perspectives. A crucial point of departure for all the bloggers and commenters is the fact of Franz in relation to others, which overwhelmingly take the form of social/sexual violence. It’s difficult to imagine a conversation about this work that doesn’t center on Franz to the moderate exclusion of the other characters, though one viewer last night suggested to me that the conversation on the blog was, in her view, excessively judgmental of Franz as a character in a narrative. I noticed some sense of that concern in the comment box, whe... More

Berlin ’29 via Cincinnati ’08

06.12.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

[Offering another view of the unfolding Berlin Alexanderplatz narrative, field correspondent Dana Ward is reading the novel but NOT watching the film. Welcome, Dana!]

Hey Brandon & Cynthia & Suzanne, & nice to meet you Dominic & Julian & Stephen & all readers. My name is Dana Ward, & Suzanne asked me to act as a correspondent to y’alls roundtable concerning Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” by reading Döblin’s novel, something I’d wanted to do and not found an occasion to̵... More

& furthermore,

06.10.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

From the Daily Cal: “…Biberkopf’s punishment isn’t the time in jail but the reality of the Weimar era, a time of unemployment, decadence and criminal activity. It’s contemporary America, but without the literary elites who can blow countless hours a week leisure-reading by the fire (or leisure-watching in the study).”

And, Engineer’s Daughter is following along with us via Netflix, if you’d like to check in over there.



06.10.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

“…to dispute the SFMoma’s blog: it not at all like climbing Mount Everest in the least, it’s actually more like watching a super long, super German mini-series. Who falls asleep in the middle of climbing a mountain: not a lot of people. Who falls asleep while watching a super long, super German miniseries: a lot of people.”


“Dallas with Nazis”

06.07.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

[For those of you just tuning in, we decided to get a few people together from our BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ viewing support group to talk a little bit about what we’re seeing. It’s a lot of film and with so much and so many ways to talk about it, we nominated Brandon to get us started, and everyone added a bit just to get the conversation going. Chiming in here now are Cynthia Sailers, Julian Myers, Stephen Hartman, Dominic Willsdon, Brandon Brown & myself. Among us there are some poets, a poet/translator, an art historian, an analy... More

06.06.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Friends, it’s one giant kaleidescopic Döblin/Fassbinder mountain. We’re still cooling our hamstrings before writing onto the blog. If you’re planning to attend the Saturday screening, a word to the wise and therefore comfortable: snacks and coffee. (which you can’t of course bring in to the theater). And, you’re in for a real treat.

On Thursday I’ll bring out the trail mix.


B.A. Prelim

06.06.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

We did have a round of Berlin Alexanderplatz screening and post-screening drinking and talking last night, and it was fun! I’m a little bit hoping we’ll hijack the SFMOMA blog for a JUNE ALEXANDERPLATZ extravaganza all month long, but of course there’s this whole FRIDA KAHLO thing happening you might want to hear something about along the way… Meanwhile: In a few hours we’ll have our roundtable up and started, everyone’s still waking up and thinking up all the smart things they want to think up about it.

I’ll say here just for a moment though a couple of the things I DID NOT EXPECT to see last night, but that I got! I didn’t expect the MELODRAMA; I didn’t quite expect the miniseries to feel just so much like a miniseries, with hourly cliffhangers and what looked to me a lot like televisual staging; I wasn’t expecting all that SEX (why not I have no idea); and I was expecting so MUCH MORE VIOLENCE. Which is not to say those las... More

Berlin Alexanderplatz starts TONIGHT

06.05.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Dear All,

Dominic & Brandon & I are hoping you’ll join us for the Berlin Alexanderplatz support group we’ve worked up for the month of June (see post just below). On Friday afternoons we’ll post in round-table-like discussions, together with a few others, of what we’re thinking and observing as we’re watching.

If you’re interested in a little more background reading, Dominic posted an interesting link in the comment box the other day, I repost it here. There’s a comprehensive analysis not only of Fassbinder’s film, but also on the novel the film was based on, Berlin Alexanderplatz: The Story of Franz Biberkopf; a bit on the life and personality of the author, Alfred Döblin; AND a review of Klaus Biesenbach’s recently released book, Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Berlin Alexanderplatz. And More! (Including the occasional odd but engaging digression, for example a paragraph on 19th c. gay author and naturalist “genius”... More

“The Punishment Begins”

06.01.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

But some of us have strange pleasures—how about fifteen and half hours of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s legendary BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ?

Beginning this Thursday and continuing each week the month of June, we’re showing (in collaboration with the PFA & the Goethe Institut-SF) the West Coast premiere of the remastered, brand-new 35mm version of Fassbinder’s retelling of Alfred Döblin’s 1929 novel: optimistic but explosive criminal Franz Biberkopf leaves a prison stint with a hope for making the straight life, and w... More