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Archive for September 12th, 2017

 

by Adam Ferenz

One of the great achievements in German television-others include Heimat and Our Hitler-this work is arguably the best of writer/director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s rich career.  This long series-are German series ever anything but long?-is nevertheless one of the most engaging works in filmed history.  Concerning the release and failure to assimilate back into society, of a convicted killer-the man, a pimp who killed his wife-finds himself struggling to keep himself straight in the era of late-Weimar Germany, the series covers many themes: regret, disappointment, rage, hatred, love and deception are but a few aspects contained within its fourteen chapters.

This is also a brutal series, containing murder, rape, physical and emotional degradation as well as social, economic and psychological brutality, all in intimate detail. Gunter Lamprecht delivers one of television’s best performances in the lead role of the released convict. Gottfried John is chilling as the man he considers his best friend, who, aside from himself, turns out to be his worst enemy. The women are many and each extraordinary, but they are almost secondary, because this is a very masculine story.

This is about the ties that men think bind them, and how the life we live is illusory. When the pimp Franz Biberkopf is released from prison, after four years for killing his lover cum worker, he enters a world that has changed considerably. The year is 1928. Franz finds himself unable to keep a job. He drifts through his life, becoming associated with and then drifting from, a Nazi newspaper, before falling in with a circle of robbers, one of whom, Reinhold, will prove to be a major undoing in his life. (more…)

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