Berlin Alexanderplatz Remastered
The German Cultural Institute – having recently completed the reconstruction and restoration of Sergei Eisenstein’s Potemkin – is subsidizing the urgently needed restoration of yet another film classic: Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz. By 2007, when the 25th anniversary of the director’s death calls for a retrospective of his work, Fassbinder’s monumental fifteen-and-a-half hour film is to be restored. Berlin Alexanderplatz can no longer be shown in its original version. The Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) supports the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation with a subsidy of up to 450.000 Euro.
Restoration and Presentation of the 15-hour Masterpiece “Berlin Alexanderplatz”
The filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who died in 1982, became an icon of German postwar film in his lifetime. His many films reflected a German reality marked by the conflict between the conservative older citizens who had lived through the war and the generation of ’68, clamoring for social change. Now, in the year when Fassbinder would have turned 60, his films are rarely seen in German movie houses. However, there appears to be renewed interest in “RWF” among the young; most likely because his films reveal more about the time when their parents grew up than do many other witnesses of the period.
Berlin Alexanderplatz is a monumental, 15-1/2 hour work. It is also an excellent film version of Alfred Döblin’s famous novel “Berlin Alexanderplatz; a Rainer Werner Fassbinder masterpiece of enormous cinematic and cultural importance. This makes the film’s current catastrophic physical condition especially regrettable. The film cannot be shown because there are no copies in existence that are true to the original. The original film must be restored. The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation (RWFF) is about to take on the project, Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz Remastered with help from The Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation).
In addition, the RWFF will publish a book, containing Fassbinder’s screenplay with original drawings of some scenes, text sections from Döblin’s novel and a selection of reviews of Fassbinder’s Berlin Aleaxnderplatz.
The first public presentation of the restored new 35mm film and the book is scheduled for 2007, 25 years after the director’s death. Opening night is to take place during the International Film Festival Berlin, ideally as the prelude to a RWF retrospective. For the same period, the German Film Museum in Frankfurt in collaboration with the Berlin Film Museum has scheduled an extensive Fassbinder-Exhibition in the Martin-Gropius-Building.
The Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) once again affirms its dedication to the preservation of Germany’s cultural heritage as exemplified in the art of filmmaking. Earlier this year, the Institute presented a restored and reconstructed version of the film classic Potemkin, complete with the original music.
The German Cultural Institute is supporting the remastering of Berlin Alexanderplatz with an initial subsidy up to 450,000 Euro.
Frederika Tapppe Hornbostel
German Cultural Institute
06110 Halle and der Saale