Epic Fassbinder mini to screen at Berlin fest


COLOGNE, Germany -- The Berlin International Film Festival will screen all 15-plus hours of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's epic miniseries "Berlin Alexanderplatz," based on the novel by Alfred Doeblin, to mark the 25th anniversary of helmer's death.

Bavaria Film International, which has remastered Fassbinder's original 16mm reels, will premiere the first two episodes of "Berlin Alexanderplatz: Remastered" on Feb. 9 at the Admiralspalast in Berlin.

The series' stars -- Guenter Lamprecht, Hanna Schygulla, Barbara Sukowa and Gottfried John -- will attend along with Doeblin's grandson, Stefan Doeblin.

Famed Berlin musician Max Raabe will host the premiere, accompanied by his 1930s-style Palast Orchestra.

The remastered version of Fassbinder's classic will have its premiere in Berlin as a high-definition projection with Dolby digital sound. The original series was broadcast on German public television in 1980 over 13 episodes and an epilogue.

The series will be screened in its entirety Feb. 11 at the Volksbuehne in Berlin in five segments from 10 a.m. until around 2:45 a.m. the following morning. The festival also will hold daily screenings Feb. 12-18 at 6:30 p.m. at CinemaxX 4 theater on Potsdamer Platz.

"Berlin Alexanderplatz" follows the life of Franz Biberkopf (Lamprecht), who tries to go straight after being released from prison. But in the chaotic clamor of 1920s Berlin, Biberkopf finds himself drawn back into a life a crime.

The series has been hailed as Fassbinder's masterpiece and one of the most ambitious narrative works, for television or film, of all time.

Juliane Lorenz, the original film editor on the series and current president of the Fassbinder Foundation, oversaw the restoration effort with "Alexanderplatz" cinematographer Xaver Schwarzenberger serving as art director on the project. The Fassbinder Foundation and Bavaria Media, together with film giants Arri and CinePostproduction, financed the remastering.

The project also received backing from Germany's Federal Culture Foundation and from Germany's federal and state film subsidy boards along with support from the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The 57th annual Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb. 8-18.