In late-1920s Berlin, Franz Biberkopf is released from prison and vows to go straight; however he soon finds himself embroiled in the city's criminal underworld.
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1980  
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Günter Lamprecht ...
 Franz Biberkopf (14 episodes, 1980)
Claus Holm ...
 Wirt / ... (12 episodes, 1980)
...
 Eva (12 episodes, 1980)
Franz Buchrieser ...
 Gottfried Meck (11 episodes, 1980)
Brigitte Mira ...
 Frau Bast / ... (10 episodes, 1980)
Roger Fritz ...
 Herbert / ... (9 episodes, 1980)
...
 Reinhold Hoffmann (9 episodes, 1980)
...
 Mieze (7 episodes, 1980)
...
 Theo (7 episodes, 1980)
Ivan Desny ...
 Pums / ... (7 episodes, 1980)
...
 Bruno (7 episodes, 1980)
Vitus Zeplichal ...
 Rudi (7 episodes, 1980)
...
 Ida (6 episodes, 1980)
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Storyline

This film, which is basically the longest narrative film ever made, is a 15-1/2 hour episodic exploration of the character of Franz Biberkopf, "hero" of Alfred Döblin's acclaimed novel, as well as the Alexanderplatz area of Berlin that he inhabits. Written by Mark Toscano <fiddybop@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

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Drama

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

10 August 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Berlin Alexanderplatz: Remastered  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 13,000,000 (estimated)
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(14 parts)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fassbinder dreamed of making a "parallel" movie specifically for theatrical distribution after the completion of this film. The cast list he made included Gérard Depardieu as Franz Biberkopf and Isabelle Adjani as Mieze. See more »

Connections

Featured in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Journey into the Reign of Subjectivity
21 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The most unique contribution of film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder to Alfred Döblin's novel "Berlin Alexanderplatz. The story of Franz Biberkopf" (1929) was his interpretation of the relationship between Franz Biberkopf and Reinhold as a love story. Therefore, in Fassbinder's interpretation, Franz Biberkopf's accident is seen as self-mutilation. In Fassbinder's last movie, Querelle (1982), we will hear the confession: "To kiss a man is like the confrontation with one's own face in the mirror". As different as Döblin's "Alexanderplatz" and Genet's "Querelle" may be, the two novels are alike because they meet one another like an object and its mirror image: the first novel deals with the good-guy Franz Biberkopf who is ruined by his love to humankind, and the other novel with the immoral murderer Querelle by which those who love him, perish.

Like many of Fassbinder's movies, "Berlin Alexanderplatz", too, shows clear autobiographical traces. Fassbinder said about the three protagonists Franz, Reinhold and Mieze: "All three together supply my chance to survive". As Fassbinder pointed out in his article "The cities of the human and his soul", unlike Döblin in his original novel, Fassbinder is not so much interested in the discovery of the outer reality of Berlin, but concentrates on their inhabitants. "Berlin Alexanderplatz" is a journey into the souls of different people under the conviction that the reign of subjectivity of the inner realities is much bigger than the reign of the objective reality outside. As a matter of fact (as has been pointed out by several commentators), "Berlin Alexanderplatz" with its almost 100 roles gave Fassbinder the possibility to let appear in his movie practically every person who had been crucial in his own life. That he split himself over three persons (Franz, Reinhold, Mieze) is very typical in Fassbinder's work in which many persons have their Alter Egos (e.g., "Despair", 1977). As Fassbinder had pointed out in an interview: "Despair is the only condition of life that I can accept". Consistently, the movie shows the systematic destruction of Franz, since "he is an anarchical figure in a crowd of social beings, and in the end, he perishes because of that". In fifteen and half an hour, we can analyze "the constellations, how a human spoils his life by a certain incapability which he developed by his upbringing" (Fassbinder). The movie shows the shaping of Franz Biberkopf to a mentally destroyed but therefore useful member of society. Every connoisseur of Fassbinder's work will be remembered to the final scene of "Fear of Fear" (1975) in which Margot, after having been "cured" in a psychiatric clinic, types addresses on envelopes like a trained monkey. When Karli brings her the information that their neighbor, the depressive Mr. Bauer, has killed himself, she hardly recognizes this fact anymore telling to Karli that she is feeling fine.


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