Ricky is a cold-blooded U.S. German contract killer. After serving in Viet Nam, he returns to his home town of Munich to eliminate a few problem crooks for three renegade cops. He inspects ... See full summary »
Germany in Autumn does not have a plot per se; it mixes documentary footage, along with standard movie scenes, to give the audience the mood of Germany during the late 1970s. The movie ... See full summary »
A working-class family in Berlin in 1931 where survival is difficult, with massive unemployment in the wake of the Great Depression. After Anni's brother commits suicide in despair, her ... See full summary »
Munich, 1955: A sports journalist meets Veronika Voss, an UFA actress who supposedly had an affair with Goebbels. Now declining, Voss is kept by her "kind" doctor, Dr. Katz, supplying her ... See full summary »
Comedian Harmonists tells the story of a famous, German male sextet, five vocals and piano, the "Comedian Harmonists", from the day they meet first in 1927 to the day in 1934, when they ... See full summary »
A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »
Ten years after the war, West Germany's market economy is booming. Into an unnamed city that's rife with corruption comes a new building commissioner, Herr von Bohm, committed to progress ... See full summary »
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Vienna in the beginning of the twentieth century. Cavalry Lieutenant Fritz Lobheimer is about to end his affair with Baroness Eggerdorff when he meets the young Christine, the daughter of ... See full summary »
Franz "Fox" Biberkopf is a working-class guy, at loose ends when his lover is arrested and the police shutter their carnival booth. In need of cash for his weekly lottery purchase, Fox lets... See full summary »
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Fassbinder,
When one director needs over 15 hours to enact a novel, it is mathematically evident that you can pack less of a tenth of that in under 90 minutes. A tour de force, a highly compressed "reader's digest" (but the novel's author Alfred Döblin also collaborated on the movie script). And also, a "Heinrich George against the rest of the world" show, if you wish.
Still, it sometimes takes a few seconds, in an otherwise tight plot, to linger on details that don't "drive" the story, but maybe that's why they stand out more in memory after watching this film. The scene where the just married couple walks from their carriage to the wedding party. Or when Reinhold drops his pen as Franz storms into his back room - that was strong cinematography in a split-second. Or the bathing scene at a lake, which has nothing to do with the personae, but offers a glimpse at a sign that proclaims triangular bathing trunks forbidden (the shape of bath-wear was indeed a hotly debated topic, up to the parliament, in 1930s' Germany).
And that scene instantly reminded me of the classic "Menschen am Sonntag" (1930, Billie Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, the Siodmak brothers and more, an early "independent" production which also features mass transit and lakeside bathing in Berlin). However, its story is harmless and relatively sweet. "Berlin - Alexanderplatz" in some way continues from there and shows deeper trouble in the big city, criminals, burglary, murder, the (not terribly strong) action of the law...
Another detail that I enjoyed: outside the courtroom, witnesses discuss: "Did you take an oath? How?" - "Oh, only worldly" (i.e. omitting the religious part). - "Ah, then it's OK".
The German Arthaus Collection/Spiegel DVD comes with an in-depth documentary on Heinrich George's life, from communist to Nazi supporter to Soviet prisoner, with interviews with his two sons (Jan and Götz George), which I also found very worth watching.
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