Fassbinder's classic 'Remastered'


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The version of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1980 classic "Berlin Alexanderplatz: Remastered," which premieres at a gala ceremony in Berlin tonight, is probably the best version of the work ever to be seen.

"The original 'Berlin Alexanderplatz" was made for television so the quality of the analogue broadcast was actually rather low," said Marcus A Claren of Bavaria Media, who oversaw the $1.8 million restoration. "What we'll be showing in Berlin is probably closer to what Fassbinder intended than any of the versions seen before."

Claren calls the restoration of "Berlin Alexanderplatz" the "equivalent of restoring 7 feature films," because of the sheer volume of original material. Some 15 1D2 hours of 16 mm footage was remastered and digitally scrubbed to produce the final version.

"We didn't do anything that would compromise the artistic integrity of the work," Claren said. "We stopped short of say, rebuilding sections of the frame completely on the computer. But in the grey and black areas of the screen, where before you couldn't see anything, we suddenly discovered new things that were there all along."

In addition to the standard 35 mm print, Bavaria, together with Arri Film and CinePostproduction, have produced an HD digital print. Bavaria Film International is handling world sales on the restored version.

Tonight's gala screening of the first two episodes of "Berlin Alexanderplatz" will be followed by back-to-back screenings of the entire series on Feb. 11-12 in the Volksbuhne on Rosa Luxemburg Platz. The series will also be shown in CinemaxX 4 from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18.

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