Berlin Alexanderplatz – III. A Hammer Blow to the Head Can Injure the Soul

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Money…  We love money.  Gotta have money.


God, the economy stinks.  Sell tie clips.  No, dirty books.  Newspapers.  No, no.  Shoelaces.  Yes, shoelaces!  Have a beer!  Selling shoelaces will help us make some real money.  Have a beer!

Hmm.  This episode introduces us to Otto Luders, Lina’s uncle.  God, what a creep.  Just look at that mug.  You know he’s no good.

Yep.  I saw something like this coming:  Once he brings Franz into the shoelace racket, Otto perverts himself on one of Franz’s customers – a lonely widow who paid Franz handsomely for…some friendly conversation.  WE THINK.*

Franz goes to her place the next day, this time with roses.  Did Franz sleep with her?  Just how affectionate was he?  I guess he crossed a line.  (Poor Lina.  I hope she doesn’t find out.)  Ah, but wait.  The widow won’t open her door.  She wants nothing to do with Franz.  Otto, that rat f*ck bastard.

Now to Lina.  She’s miserable:  For some days Franz hasn’t been home.  What’ll she do?  What did she do to drive him away?  Did she drive him away?  Franzy?  What happened to that horny hunk?  Everything between them seemed to be going so nicely.



She goes to the dive they frequent (see how the loiterers on the street regard her).  There, to help her, she beseeches Meck (i.e., Max), Franz’s Hitler-lipped friend from the old days.  Meck’s a shifty-lookin’ dude.  Vaguely sinister.

They go to Otto’s dump, where the light is low and the scraps are drinks.  (BEER MONEY BEER MONEY BEER…  It’s work-to-drink, mein feinds.)  Poor Otto, that slimy rat f*ck bastard.  His street smarts are no match for Meck’s.  If he doesn’t find Franz by the following night, Meck’ll cut his guts out.

The search is on.

Otto finds Franz at a flophouse.  CHRIST!  There’s a bony guy sitting there just covering his dong.  What the–  And now he’s in the background and Fassbinder is showing us DONG.  Aah!

It’s…  So tired.  I’m so very tired.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Goddamn it.  I played the entire episode the other night and fell asleep.  What’d I miss?

Otto finds Franz at a flophouse and apologizes to him.  Come back, Franz.  Here, here’s some money.

Franz won’t have it.  He throws a basin of water at Otto.  He — what, is Franz having an aneurysm?  He’s on the ground.  He doesn’t want the water spilled to leak to the floor below.  Must.  Be.  Kept.  Clean.

Clean.  Cleanliness is next to godliness.  Rub it out.

So Franz won’t go back.  The question remains:  Did he screw the widow?  Does the answer matter?  Since Otto’s betrayal (Lina still doesn’t know what happened.  We don’t either, at least not the specifics), he can’t handle the suggestion that he would have cheated on Lina.  No, not even the faintest trace.  That was then, this is now.  Aah!  He’s no good.  Must be kept clean.

Otto leaves, fetches Lina and Meck.  The lady who runs the flophouse doesn’t know where Franz went.  Poor Lina.  And Meck: what a pal, what a friend.  Here he is, having done what he could to find Franz, and he’s kissing Lina.  Who knows how long Franz will be gone?  Come with me, Lina.  I’ve always fancied you.

Gee, Meck.  You’re such a swell guy.

And now we hear Peer Raben’s score come to gather us.  (I love that accordion.)  The end.

My eyes battle to stay open.  So, so tired…

I dream I’m in a rat’s nest in the city.  Outside my window, the noise of the city boils, and with it the sound of someone shoveling dirt.  It doesn’t stop.

Rating: C+

*If they DID fornicate (it’s not shown), I missed a clear reference later on.  Like I said at the start of this episode guide, I “show up” to view the series when I can and do my best to follow along in the moment. 

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