Sunday, April 17, 2011

#325: Berlin Alexanderplatz

1980, TSPDT Rank #240

Speaking of difficult films, this 15 1/2 hour mammoth work by RW Fassbinder is a bit of an undertaking. Watching in its entirety within a month or thereabouts and allowing it to sink in slowly is one of the most unique, valuable, and powerful experiences that one could have watching movies. This is a fairly normal crime story if looked at on a smaller scale, but blown up to this enormous scale, reaches dramatic highs and lows usually never witnessed. Some of the episodes might seem inconsequential individually, but I am convinced none of them are. It takes the usual plot layout we're used to seeing and stretches it out, making us less conscious of the method in which the plot is unfolding than we usually would be. It really wasn't until episode 5 (my favorite along with the cruel, wicked brilliance of the last few) that I was smacked in the face with the sublimity of Fassbinder's craft here. I have a feeling if I ever took the time to watch the entire epic tome again (a fair possibility) it would be near if not at the top of my all-time favorite films. About 8 times the normal length of a film, requires about 8 times the patience and 8 times the incubation time afterwards - and will greatly reward every ounce of it you give. If this film alone doesn't present Fassbinder as a cinematic master of rare talents, I don't know what possibly could.

(Rating: 10/10)

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