The North American premiere of the restored version of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz celebrates the Museum’s acquisition of a 35mm print of the film—the “Mount Everest of modern cinema” (Andrew Sarris). Berlin Alexanderplatz—a breathtaking achievement in a career filled with remarkable works—was shot, edited, and scored over six furious months with one hundred principal and supporting actors, resulting in a film more than fifteen hours long, divided into thirteen parts and an epilogue. Produced for German television in 1980, the film was released theatrically in New York in 1983 to extraordinary acclaim.
Based on Alfred Döblin’s influential and prescient epic novel about the waning days of the Weimar Republic, Berlin Alexanderplatz traces the fall of Franz Biberkopf, an urban Everyman, as he attempts to make his way through a society compromised by unemployment, violence, anomie, and promises of social order proclaimed by conflicting political parties. Fassbinder not only adapted Döblin’s complex narrative for the screen but also composed an original two-hour epilogue in which Biberkopf travels through a turbulent dreamscape emerging from his and Germany’s experiences.
Under the guidance of Xavier Schwarzenberger and Juliane Lorenz (Berlin Alexanderplatz’s cameraman and editor, respectively), the original 16mm negative was digitally remastered and transferred to 35mm with a 1:1.37 aspect ratio and new English subtitles. Presented with the exhibition Fassbinder in the Collection.
Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film.