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Berlin Alexanderplatz [Criterion Collection] [Blu-ray]

Release Date:02/12/2019
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder's sweeping 16-hour-long drama Berlin Alexanderplatz is an adaptation of the novel by Alfred Doblin. Franz Biberkopf (Günter Lamprecht) is released from prison as the film opens; he had been jailed for four years after killing his girlfriend Ida. Franz becomes involved with Lina (Elisabeth Trissenaar) and promises to no longer break the law. The 1920s German economy is horrible, and Franz has difficulty providing for himself and his partner. He goes into business with Lina's uncle, who eventually betrays Franz, sending him into a serious downward spiral. Franz becomes involved with a criminal named Reinhold (Gottfried John), a womanizer who convinces Franz to get rid of the woman Reinhold himself has discarded. After a botched robbery, Franz loses his arm in a car accident. With assistance from his ex-girlfriend Eva (Fassbinder regular Hanna Schygulla) and her pimp, Franz recovers and returns to the city. He starts to make some money by acting as a pimp for a prostitute named Mieze (Barbara Sukowa), but Reinhold returns and kills her. The authorities arrest Franz for the murder. The film ends with Franz in a mental hospital, a prime candidate to join the ranks of the upstart National Socialist party.~Perry Seibert


Hans-Dieter Hartl's 1980 documentary NOtes on the Making-Of "Berlin Alexanderplatz"

High-Definition digital restoration by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation and Bavaria Media, supervised and approved by Director of Photography Xaver Schwarzenberger, with DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack

Interview from 2007 with Peter Jelavich, author of "Berlin Alexanderplatz": Radio, Film, and the Death of Weimar Culture

Phi Jutzi's 1931 feature-length film of Alfred Döblins novel, from a screenplay cowritten by Döblin himself

Plus: A book featuring an essay by filmmaker Tom Tykwer, reflections on the novel by Fassbinder and author Thomas Steinfeld, and an interview with Schwarzenberger

Two documentaries by Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation president Juliane Lorenz: one from 2007 featuring interviews with the cast and crew, the other from 2006 on the restoration