Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Starring: GŁnter Lamprecht (Franz Biberkopf, 14 episodes), Karlheinz Braun (Rechtsanwalt LŲwenhund, 13 episodes), Hanna Schygulla (Eva, 12 episodes), Claus Holm (Wirt, 12 episodes), Franz Buchrieser (Gottfried Meck, 11 episodes), Brigitte Mira (Frau Bast, 10 episodes), Roger Fritz (Herbert, 9 episodes), Gottfried John (Reinhold Hoffmann, 9 episodes), Barbara Sukowa (Mieze, 7 episodes), GŁnther Kaufmann (Theo, 7 episodes), Ivan Desny (Pums, 7 episodes), Volker Spengler (Bruno, 7 episodes), Vitus Zeplichal (Rudi (7 episodes, 1980), Barbara Valentin (Ida, (6 episodes).
ex-convict attempts to go straight but is hindered by the troublesome and corrosive Weimar-era Germany
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
Part I. The Punishment Begins.
Franz Biberkopf is a physically imposing man. He is a bit of a hulk and his moods can change quickly. He gets his discharge papers from prison. He heads out the gates as four new prisoners are brought in.
Outside the gate the roar of the traffic hurts his ears. He hold his hands over his ears. The gate guard asks him if heís scared? Yes, he is. The guard tells him that times are hard and one more scared man really wonít be noticed in the city. Franz says: "All these people and the city and the world, and me."
He steps out and is almost hit by a car. He starts running from the cars. A Jewish man dressed in traditional black garb and with a long beard and black hat notices Franz and follows him. Franz starts to feel faint. The Jewish fellow tries to assist Franz. Franz keeps saying that he wants a cognac. He is acting very strange. Franz starts singing.
The Jewish fellow invites Franz into his apartment. There Franz falls on the floor and starts to moan over and over. He moans: "No oneís going to take me away from here."
The Parable of Stefan Zannovich.
In his jail cell Franz would groan and hide himself and wouldnít think about anything. The Jewish guy starts telling Franz a story about a man named Zannovich. This seems very strange and Franz picks up his head and calls him a fool. The man still continues on with his story. Franz sits up saying: "Hey, listen, little man, were you hit by a car or something? Are you a bit cracked? Just cut the bull will you?"
Note: Surprising conclusion to the story and the invigorating effect this has on the released prisoner.
Eliser, the brother-in-law of the stranger, enters the room and asks him what is he doing with this man? Franz doesnít like Eliserís tone and asks: "Why do you meddle in his affairs?" Now Franz learns that his host is named Nahum. Nahum calls Eliser a nasty person. Eliser fights back with the question: "Did he tell you the end of the story?" Zannovich only lived 30 years and couldnít pay his debts. He wound up in prison where he cut his veins. In other words, he killed himself. His body was taken out and covered with prison garbage.
Franz is offended by the ending of the story. He tells his hosts that heís going. Before leaving he thanks them for taking him in. He shakes their hands. He goes in search now of a cognac. He sees an advertisement for a movie: An Orphanís Fate in six acts. Franz is bothered by flashbacks to scenes of him assaulting a woman.
Franz comes to an area with a lot of prostitutes. He arranges to have sex with one of them. When they are in a room, Franz starts immediately pawing her. The woman seems a bit nutty. She starts laughing. The prostitute takes Franz to the bed and Franz starts to make love, but he soon gets up. The prostitute reads from a magazine to him. Franz leaves.
Franz goes to the apartment where he once lived. The landlady, Mrs. Bast, gives him a kiss. She says that Miss Eva paid his rent. Franz says nothing. He has been away from his old room for four years. He goes inside and locks the door. He lays on the bed. He sees a framed picture of his late girlfriend. He walks over to it and turns it face down, then flips it face up and then puts it back in its original upright position.
Franz visits a middle-aged woman. The woman is surprised to see him and asks him what does he want here? She says he must be crazy and if he doesnít leave, she will scream that sheís being attacked. Franz asks: "But why?" He grabs her hand and starts to lightly bite it. She tells him that Karl will be coming back soon. The woman then says: "Thatís how it all started with Ida." Now Franz grabs the woman and throws her to the floor. He starts raping her. She screams and he slaps her. He has a flashback to his assaulting his girlfriend Ida. The woman he is raping is Idaís sister Mina. When he finishes, Franz shouts: "Franz is back!" The sister says she will tell Karl. As he leaves she tells him not to come again or she will tell Karl. Franz responds: "Tell him!" He adds: "Iím so happy Mina. Iím a human being again."
Franz killed his girlfriend Ida in the flower of her youth. With some reason, he thought she was about to ditch him for someone newly arrived from Breslau.
Flashback. The landlady comes in as Franz has Ida down on the floor slapping her in the face repeatedly. He continues with the assault until Ida dies. Franz runs out of the apartment.
Back to the present. Eva and a man come to visit Franz. She asks Franz why didnít he stop by to see her? Franz just says he doesnít know. He adds: "I donít want to go on as before." The man whispers to Eva that Franz is all screwed up and takes Eva out of the apartment. Franz just keeps repeating his last spoken phrase over and over.
Franz returns to Minaís place. He brought her aprons to replace the one he ripped. A little girl tells her mother a man is in the house. Mina brings Franz inside so no one will see him. She tells Franz she doesnít want the aprons saying they are stolen. Franz tells her the aprons are not stolen. He says he dreamed of Mina last night. She takes off her dress to save it from being ripped. Mina says that she told Karl, but he didnít believe her explanations of the black eye and the marks on her neck. Franz tells Mina not to let Karl push here around like that. Mina tells Franz that he (Franz) makes her unhappy. She tells him to go and donít come back. She asks him: "Is it going to start all over again?" Franz says all he wants is to sit with her awhile.
Mina is relieved and they sit down. She still tells him not to come back. Franz asks: "Why shouldnít I come back?" At the door on his way out, they kiss. He tells her: "All right, I wonít come back." He leaves.
On his way out of the building he runs into his old friend Meck. Meck tells Franz that he hopes Franz isnít doing anything with Idaís sister. Franz says: "No. Itís over." He tells Meck to come have a drink with him. As they leave Franz looks up to Minaís window and sees Mina watching them. They leave.
In the bar with Meck, Franz sees a woman. Meck says her name is Lina and she is a Polish girl, but sheís a nice girl. Franz expresses an interest in her. The woman is nearby listening to their conversation. She comes over and sits down next to Franz. He buys her a drink.
Lina tells Franz that heís been in jail and she guesses for three, no four, years. She tells him not to worry. She just senses these things sometimes. Lina touches his hand.
Lina takes Franz to her room. She lays on her bed dressed in her pink slip and wearing a top hat. She sings and Franz joins in. Franz sees medication for sexual disturbance and Lina explains that it belonged to a guy who was in the apartment a month ago. Franz gets on the bed and starts kissing her. He bites her and Lina jumps up a bit afraid. He tells her thatís just his way. So she relaxes again. Franz starts sucking on her left breast.
After sex Franz says he wants to swear to stay honest and never again do anything different from what others do. He tells Lina that he will never be dishonest again and that she is his witness. Franz says: "I have taken an oath."
In the pub Franz talks to Meck and the bartender. Lina suddenly comes into the pub with all her possessions. He goes over to her and kisses her as his friends start laughing heartily. Franz joins in the laughter.
Franz takes her and Meck to his apartment. He introduces her to Mrs. Bast. At first the landlady is a bit distant, but she soon accepts Lina and gives her a big hug. She then gives Franz a letter. Franz opens it and starts reading. Soon he staggers back and has to catch himself. The letter says that convicted of threatening behavior, assault and battery and bodily injury resulting in death, Franz is expelled from the following districts of Berlin: Charlottenburg, Neu Koln, Schonesberg, Wilmersdorf, Lichtenberg and Stralau. He is also expelled from nine administrative districts. He must leave the area where he lives in a period of fourteen days or be punished by a fine of 100 marks or ten days imprisonment. Furthermore, he is not to reside in a lot of listed towns near Berlin. If found there, he will be expelled.
Lina kisses Franz. She then tells Meck to say something. Meck asks: "What should I say?" Mrs. Bast sits down. Then Meck says: "Prunerstrasse 1, Prisonerís Aid."
At Prisonerís Aid a woman worker tells the secretary to type that Franz has turned himself over to their care. He has agreed to report to them once a month. He will also get a steady job. Before Franz leaves, the woman tells Franz: "Make sure you stick to our agreement." Franz is extremely happy. He feels that his old life is now gone. When he sees Lina he hugs her. She cries, but he tells her: "Weíve won! Weíve won!"
Part II. How is One to Live if one Doesnít Want to Die?
Franz doesnít want Lina to work as a prostitute. He wants to earn all the money. He asks Lina how many unemployed are there in Berlin? She says there may be a few hundred thousand. Meck tells Franz that he would do the best being employed in trade.
Franz is out on the street selling tie holders. Eva and the man she is with see Franz on the street pitching his product. Lina is also watching Franz. She sees Eva walk over to Franz. Eva gives him a coin, put doesnít wait to take the tie holder.
Lina comes over to Franz and wants to know who was the girl? He says she is just a girl he used to know. Franz then tells Lina that this job is not for him. He has been thinking it over and he wants to sell newspapers. Franz tells Lina to stay at the stand and sell the tie holders.
Franz goes to see the fellow at the kiosk selling newspapers and other items. The man suggests that Franz sell booklets devoted to sexual education. He shows Franz one of the books in the series. It is filled with drawings of naked women. Franz doesnít like the idea, but the man gives him a number of the booklets to take home and read.
Franz is reading through the various booklets. He picks up one on male homosexuality and reads it. Lina comes in and tells Franz that she told the fellow that they are through selling tie holders. Franz starts telling her the story of male homosexuality that he just finished reading.
Lina gets very upset and concerned and asks Franz: "Are you that way maybe?" She runs out of the apartment. He runs after her and catches up with her. He asks her whatís all this nonsense? Lina says they are through. He grabs her from behind, fondles her breasts and bites her neck. She says: "My God, Franz. I was so scared." They kiss.
Lina with the sex education booklets in her hands and with Franz accompanying her, marches herself over to the kiosk to tell off the dirty old man. (Franz hides behind a pillar.) Lina Przybilla from Czernowitz throws the booklets on the ground in front of the man. She is ecstatic after the battle and hugs Franz.
Walking on the street, Lina says: "673,582." Franz doesnít know what sheís talking about. She repeats 673,582, the number of unemployed in Berlin. They continue walking while two men paste on the wall a poster with someoneís named prominently displayed: "Adolf Hitler."
Lina takes Franz to a dance hall. They get a beer. A man at the bar starts talking to Franz and Lina, but mostly to Franz. He likes Franz and starts asking him a number of questions. A series of questions make sure that Franz is a true German. Another question makes sure that Franz is not a Red. He then asks if Franz is a veteran? Yes, he is a veteran, but his fighting for his country doesnít get him a job. But the man explains that he is the Berlin representative of the Volkischer Beobachter and he is going to give Franz a chance.
The man sets up Franz to sell his newspapers. He then starts to put an armband on Franz. Franz doesnít understand why he needs to wear an armband. The man insists he wear the armband saying everything is alright. After the man leaves, Franz takes a close look at the armband. It is red with a while circle containing the black swastika. Franz is now working for the German fascists, the Nazis.
There must be order in paradise.
A hot sausage vendor talks with Franz while he sells fascist newspapers. He asks Franz aren't they against the Jews? Franz says personally he has nothing against the Jews. But he is for law and order, he says. The man tells Franz good luck. He turns back to Franz and says, "but I'm Jewish." And yet he still wishes Franz good luck. All Franz can think of saying is thanks.
Franz calls out to a man he knows. His name is Dreske. Franz is upset at the way Dreske and the two men with him are looking at him. He asks them if it's because of the arm band? He keeps forcing the issue, so Dreske tells him that they've really pulled the wool over his eyes. Franz gets defensive and starts arguing with them. He tells them that their Weimar republic's nothing but a calamity. There's not enough law and order in it. Dreske says they were betrayed in 1918-1919 by the bigwigs. They killed Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknectht.
Franz is at the bar eating while waiting for Lina like he always does. Dreske and four other men come into the bar. To irritate the fascist Franz they sing the Internationale. They ask Franz to sing with them. He says he will sing once he finishes eating. A little later they ask him to sing. Instead, he recites a poem he learned that was written by a jail mate. But one of the men insists that Franz sing a song for them as he promised. So Franz sings an overly patriotic German song.
It looks like a confrontation is going to take place between the men and Franz. The bartender tries to intervene but the strongest man of the group says that they are just settling a score. The bartender tells Franz to be quiet, but the strong man says that fascists are allowed to speak. The man calls Franz a fascist and demands that he hand over that Nazi arm band of his. Backed up to the wall Franz just keeps talking and talking even yelling. He gives the impression that there is something wrong with him, that he's not quite right in the head. So the men decide not to attack him. They go back to their table. As Franz leaves the place, he says sorry to Dreske. Sorry that this had to happen between the two of them.
Franz stands outside the bar holding onto a pole. Lina comes by and asks him what's the matter? He says nothing is the matter. Franz then tells Lina that he loves her. He grabs her from behind and bites her on the neck. It hurts but Lina tells him to continue.
Part III. A Hammer Blow to the Head Can Injure the Soul.
Lina asks Franz if there was trouble over the Swastika? Yes. Lina says: "With most of the jobs you get today, there's something fishy." But she has an "uncle", a friend of her father's, who will help them. They go to the man's house. Otto is very surprised to see Lina. It has been twelve years since they last saw each other. His wife died some time ago and Otto had been unemployed for two years. He sells shoelaces to make a living. Lina and Franz thinks that Franz can do the same work.
Lina and Franz speak with Meck. He has some illegal scheme going and asks Franz if he wants to go in it with him. Franz says no because he took an oath. Lina is happy about Franz's refusal. She says: "I believe in us, Franz, all the way."
Franz meets Otto in Max's bar. After coffee they go to work. Franz rings a bell of a door and a woman answers. She invites him in for coffee and Franz accepts. The woman's husband has died and she sees a resemblance between her dead husband and Franz. Franz has sex with her. When Franz and Otto meet back at the bar, Franz tells him all about his adventures with the widow. Otto is very interested and asks for the details. Franz asks Otto to pick up his satchel at the widow's place because he accidentally left it there.
The next day Otto goes to see the widow. She is very distrustful of Otto as she wonders why Franz himself didn't come to pick up the satchel. But Otto is persistent and virtually forces his way in. The widow is very upset and nervous. It looks like Otto wants to have sex with her, but it turns out that he just wants to rob her. He asks for money and then takes more of her money when she gives him some. He also insults her saying that she is as bad as all the other women. He says he should punch her in the face, but he doesn't hit her. He then takes some other things from the apartment and runs out.
The next morning Otto does not show up at Franz's apartment. Franz tells Lina that it's very strange. Getting tired of waiting for Otto, Franz goes out by himself. Going door to door he runs into Eva. She explains that this is Oscar's place, a client of eighteen months. She says she will buy some pencils from him, but Franz says no, no and then runs away. He buys roses and then goes to visit the widow. She opens the door part way, sees it's Franz and then shuts the door in his face. He knocks on the door and rings the bell, but the widow does not answer the door. He writes a note and sticks it under her door. Exasperated, he bangs on the door saying that he needs his merchandise. The widow refuses to answer. Franz leaves in disgust.
Franz has left Lina without saying a word to her. The landlady tries to console her. Lina runs out to the bar. She cries to Meck there. Max says that when Otto came into the bar, he saw Franz and rushed out again. Meck and Lina go in search of Otto. They find him and Lina questions Otto. She gets nothing out of the man. Meck then tells her that Otto is lying. He goes over to Otto and starts manhandling him. He says he has a knife in his pocket and Otto better find Franz or else. Otto goes out to find Franz. Otto finds Franz at a flop house.
Note: Franz Biberkopf has suffered no great mishap. But he has come to realize that as simple as his aim of going straight may be, there must be some flaw in it.
Otto talks to Franz while staying out of arm's reach. Franz picks up a chair and starts approaching Otto. But, all of a sudden, Franz puts the chair down. He tells Otto to get out. Otto acts as if he is completely at a loss to why Franz might be so upset with him. He asks Franz: "What have I don to you?" Franz slowly says he hasn't learned how to express himself adequately as to what's going on his head and what Otto did to cause what's going on in his head. Otto continues to play innocent. He asks Franz why did he abandon Lina and why does he act so strange now? After a brief moment he tells Franz that he will give him half of the money. Franz tells Otto that if he doesn't get out of here, he's going to kill him. Otto still acts bewildered. Franz grabs a bowl of water and throws it at Otto but misses as Otto dives on the floor. As Otto lays there, Franz pours the remaining water in the bowl over him. Otto leaves.
Otto goes to Max's bar to complain to Max and Meck that Franz has gone crazy. Meck grabs Otto and tells him that Otto has betrayed his friend Franz. Otto nods in assent. Meck lets him go. He gets the address from Otto and tells Lina to come with him. Otto leaves without saying anything to Lina. Lina and Meck go to the flop house only to find out that Franz has moved on. Meck questions the landlady in detail about what Franz said to her. She finally tells them that Franz told her that if anyone comes for him, he doesn't want them to follow him. Meck tells Lina that maybe they really shouldn't look for Franz anymore. Maybe he needs time to be by himself for awhile. Lina nods her head. Meck then tells Lina that he likes her a lot. She can live with him, so she won't be so alone and he won't be so alone. He kisses the back of her neck. Lina nods her head up and down.
Part IV. A Handful of People in the Depths of Silence.
Franz is in his apartment room. He has been drinking a lot of beer. His room is full of empty beer bottles. He takes a 24 case of beers down to Mrs. Greiner's place from whom he gets his liquor. She laughs and tells him he really goes through that stuff fast. Franz has a bottle of beer in the store. He wonders aloud how can the shoe store across the way stay open when he never sees any customers in the shop. Mrs. Greiner says that the place is run by old Mrs. Grillman. In fact, Mrs Greiner knows all the gossip about all the people in the apartment across the street. She talks on and on about the people while Franz just drinks and listens.
Franz is back in his apartment. He looks out the window. A woman walking in the street, stops, turns, looks up at Franz and winks at him. Franz winks back. A little later the woman comes to his apartment. She thinks Franz wants sex because he winked back at her. Franz says he doesn't want sex with her. She is upset that she won't earn any money from Franz. As she leaves she calls him: "Limp dick!"
Franz lays on the floor all wet from sweating. But no matter how much he sweats, he still wears his hat and jacket. He sits there among the beer bottles and talks to himself. The landlord comes in. Franz starts to become belligerent, asking him what right does he have to come into his room? The landlord handles it well and soon is cleaning up Franz's vomit from the floor. Franz goes walking on the street. He looks at the church bulletin board thinking about the titles of the upcoming sermons.
Franz goes into a delusional stage probably induced by his withdrawal from alcohol. He complains of having a terrible pain in his stomach and he is covered in sweat. Franz fully awakens and the landlord tells him that he lay in bed in a delusional state for three entire days. Franz goes to the Jews on Munzstrasse to sort thing out. There he keeps on talking to himself all day long.
Note: Man's fate is like that of the beasts. Just as they die, so does he.
Franz plays cards with the landlord, whose named is Baumann. He keeps on talking saying things like he is poison for the earth and when he dies people will have to spit. He also says that no one wants to help him: not Satan and not God. The landlord tells Franz that he doesn't even want to help himself. This remark upsets Franz. Soon he is in the bed in a fetal position groaning and moaning.
Then comes a disturbing scene where a shepherd cuts a goat's throat and drains his blood into a bucket.
Note: On this day, his first sore healed.
Franz continues to drink. He says to himself that he wants nothing to do with the world anymore. Eva comes into the room and turns on the light. He pleads with her to turn off the light and she obliges. She kneels beside Franz resting her back against the wall. She tells Franz that she always knows where he is. But this time he is so bad off that she is forced to help him. Franz tells her that he doesn't need any help. Eva tells him: "You know I still love you. And now that Ida's not around any more, why don't you come back to me?" Franz tells her no. He doesn't want someone supporting him. He swore to it. He says he has to get himself out of this or it will be the end of him. She offers him some money. He says he needs it but he won't take it. With tears in her eyes, Eva leaves quietly.
Franz looks out the window at night. He sees some thieves doing their worst. The next morning the police arrive outside. One of them complains that this is the fifth burglary in the wholesale company in eighteen months. The policeman in charge asks for eye witnesses, but no one comes forward. Franz says to the landlord that he is not going to rat on anyone.
The landlord and Franz talk about the crimes. Franz goes back to his room. He puts his ear to the wall to hear what's being said in the next room; the Greiners' room. The landlord comes in and Franz quickly jumps up. Baumann tells him that the Greiners are trying to go in with the burglary team. But Franz tells him that Mr. Greiner changed his mind. One of the guys and Mrs. Greiner will do it alone. He adds that Mr. Greiner is going to put one over on them.
Later the landlord comes into the room to speak with Franz again. Franz tells him to be quiet for a moment. Old Greiner is mad. He was drinking and squabbling with his wife, but they made up again. Bauman tells Franz that soon he will be leaving them. He will be leaving because he is fit again after having sweated the alcohol out of his system during his alcohol withdrawal. The police arrest the Greiners and take them to jail. Franz is leaving.
Franz begins his journey again. Alexanderplatz is one big construction site now. He goes to see the old man who wanted him to sell sexual education booklets. Franz tells the old man that he just needed a little peace and quiet and to be alone. But now he wants to try selling newspapers again. The old man says that he is 65 years old now and will be quitting the job soon. Franz looks at the newspaper headlines. The headlines deal with the crisis in the Reichstag and the talk of March elections. The old man tells Franz that his friend Meck is selling clothes and is doing well.
Franz goes to see Meck. They hug. Franz knows that he has been taking care of Lina and thinks that's good. But Meck tells him that one day Lina just left without saying anything. Franz says that's the way life is. You meet, you becomes friends, you get close and then one day you simply break up.
Part V. A Reaper with the Power of Our Lord.
(which is death, of course)
Meck tells Franz that the big shot over there is the boss and his name is Pums. The guy with him is Reinhold. When Pums finishes with Reinhold he comes over to speak with Meck privately. Meck comes back to tell Franz that Pums wants to meet him. Pums tells Franz that he deals in fruit and maybe he and Franz could work together. Franz says he is agreeable to the idea. Pums leaves. Franz tells Meck: "Handle that guy with care and shake well after use."
Franz thinks that Reinhold may be a communist. He also thinks that the guy was in prison and thinks Franz has also been in prison. Franz calls the guy over and tells him that he was in prison for four years. Reinhold can only tell him that heís sorry to hear that, because, he says, he never was in prison. He also tells Franz that heís in fruit too. Franz thinks itís strange that everyone in the bar is in the fruit trade. He tells Meck he wonít go into fruit, but will stick to newspapers.
Franz goes back to his old room where he killed Ida. Mrs. Bast is happy to see him again. She says his room is available. When he goes in to look at the rooms he finds Eva there. She has been waiting for him for three hours hoping he would soon show up. They kiss. Eva wants to have sex with Franz, but he says no. So she asks him to have sex with her just for fun. He finally agrees and they have sex.
Working on the street, Franz runs into Reinhold again. Reinhold says that he doesnít want his woman Franz any more. He is hoping that Franz can take her off his hands. Franz asks what he would do with her? Itís more of a question, however, of what Franz would do for him. So Franz agrees.
One day Franze shows up at Franzís apartment. He talks to her a little while. They kiss. A little later they have sex.
Franz runs into Reinhold again. He has a new girlfriend, Cilly. Reinhold asks Franz if he has gotten rid of Franz yet? Franz says no, itís too early yet. He says sheís good in bed and does the laundry. Reinhold tells him that someone else can take Franz off his hands. So Franz agrees to get rid of Franz.
Franz asks the old man at the kiosk about having a woman in his life again. She will do lots of things for him. He says o.k. so Franz brings him over to his apartment to meet Franze. Then Franz deliberately starts an argument with Franz over her supposedly bad coffee. He is completely unreasonable, mean, sarcastic, the whole nine yards. He insults her so much that she decides to leave and he tells her thatís good. She calls him a pig and leaves with the old man. Mission accomplished.
Mrs. Bast comes in to scold Franz for being so unreasonable and nasty to Franz who was very good to Franz. She is interrupted by the doorbell. She goes down and brings up a lady with a gift for Franz.
The woman is Cilly. She comes in and gives the present from Reinhold to Franz. It is a fur collar. Franz tells her that the previous gift he got from Reinhold was a pair of huge rain boots. He puts them on Cilly and has her walk around. He then puts his feet inside the boots just under hers. The two of them walk around until they fall onto the floor. There Franz starts kissing her. They have sex.
Reinhold finds Franz and Franz asks him if itís time for a change already? Franz says itís only been a month. Reinhold tells him they are going to the Salvation Army. They sit in the back. All of a sudden Reinhold looks sick and rushes out of the room. Franz follows him.
Franz asks Reinhold whatís the matter with him? Reinhold says he wants to give up on broads. He says he has had enough. He woos and pursues them relentlessly, but after four weeks he gets tired of them. Then he just canít stand them. Franz tells Reinhold: "Maybe you really are crazy?" Reinhold just says that he is already sick of the latest blonde, Trude. He implies that he wants Franz to take her off his hands. Reinhold suggests that Franz could have two women.
Franz goes home to Cilly who is not in a good mood because she has been waiting for Franz for hours already. Franz tells her that he just wants her to tell him something about Reinhold, like what kind of guy is he? She tells some things about the man. Then Franz asks her if he should take Trude off his hands? Cilly screams. Franz tells her to stop that! She tells him to say that again about Trude. He repeats the question and she screams again. She asks Franz what about her?
He tells her that it will all be "with you, with you." She tells him he is a low-down bastard. If Reinhold is scum, Franz is even worse. Franz tells her that is not true. He says he wonít take Trude. "I wonít put up with it anymore.. . . He (Reinhold) destroys people." Tomorrow heíll tell Trude whatís up and will stay there to comfort her, but will stay with Cilly.
Part VI. Love Has Its Price.
Reinhold tells Franz that he just can't stand Trude anymore. Franz says then he must have another woman already. He does. Her name is Nelly. Franz says yes, but he's not kicking Cilly out. She's settled in with him. Franz then tells Reinhold that things can't go on like this, picking up one woman and then throwing her away to get another and throw her away. No, there has to be an end to this nonsense, says Franz. Reinhold tells Franz that it's alright. He got along before he met him and he will get along without him now. Reinhold goes and sits down with Trude. He starts criticizing her.
Franz wakes up abruptly from a nightmare. This awakens Cilly. Franz tells her he dreamed that a snake (Reinhold) bite him (as a bird) and he died.
Franz is in the bar. Meck tells him that there are still some jobs available with Pums. Franz is not interested. He tells Meck about Reinhold. Franz tells him that there's something wrong with Reinhold. Meck says it's the strangest thing he's ever heard. He is a bit surprised that Franz got involved with it. Just then Reinhold comes into the bar with Trude. Franz is happy to see him still with Trude, thinking that maybe Reinhold actually listened to what he told Reinhold. Reinhold speaks with Pums as Trude sits alone. Pums later talks with Franz. He wants him to work for him. Pums then speaks with Meck.
Sunday, April 18, 1928. Franz leaves Cilly to take a walk. Walking along he hears some strange noises. He starts walking faster and realizes that a fight is taking place. A fellow named Bruno who works for Pums is getting a bad beating from a smaller man. Franz gets closer. the police arrive and everyone scatters. Franz helps Bruno up, but the police tell Bruno that he has to go with them. Bruno tells Franz to go see Pums and tell him what happened.
Franz knocks on Pums's door. Pums opens the door. Franz sees his wife Clara with a pistol in her hand looking out through a door cracked just a little bit. Pums tells her the weapon is not necessary. Franz tells Pums about Bruno and Pums informs Franz that he will just have to take Bruno's place. At 9 p.m. they will pick up the goods. Franz will drive one of the cars. Franz tries to tell Pums he has to go home to be with Cilly, but Pums doesn't want to hear it. He will pay five marks an hour. Franz is impressed. But he still says he's got to go home. Pums says he can't let Franz leave. Reinhold comes in and Franz is very happy to see him. But Reinhold is not too friendly to Franz. Franz says: "So you're going?" Yes, says Reinhold.
Franz goes with the fellows. He starts to follow them up the stairs, but Pums tells him to stay down on the street and lookout for trouble. Franz becomes very concerned about what's going on and thinks it a burglary or maybe even murder. He tells himself that he has to get out of here. He starts to slip away. Pums sends Reinhold after the "idiot". Reinhold brings Franz back. He hits Franz on the arm and tells him to whistle if anything happens. Franz says to himself that they pulled a fast one on him. And Reinhold hit him and it hurt. He starts saying what a fool he is and he is actually being a lookout. He is begining to realize that this is a gang and Pums is its leader. Franz sees Meck who is also on this job.
The gang finishes loading the vehicles and off they go. A man and a woman decide to challenge one of the cars to a race. So they follow the car with Reinhold and Franz in back. Reinhold becomes very nervous and tells Franz that a car is following them. He tells the driver to drive faster, faster. Franz starts laughing and Reinhold gets mad at him. He tells Franz that as far as he is concerned, he (Franz) is a snake in the grass and a stool pigeon. Franz says he would never rat on Reinhold. Reinhold starts sweating profusely. He gets so angry at Franz that he opens the back door of the vehicle and throws Franz out.
Love Has Its Price.
At the local bar Cilly waited all night for Franz to show up. Meck tells the bartender that Franz is dead. It was an accident. He's dead. This wakes up Cilly and she asks Meck if he has heard anything about Franz? Meck tells her that Franz is dead. She just laughs and tells him that's a good joke. But when he repeats the statement, Cilly becomes very angry and slaps Meck. He tells her not to slap him again or else. So Cilly asks where is Reinhold? He's in the john. Cilly goes into the john to confront Reinhold. Reinhold tells her that it's true. Franz is dead. It was an accident. He fell in front of a car. Cilly asks Reinhold if he still loves her even if just a little. Reinhold says: "Sure. . . . Sure I do." He kisses her. He then takes her into a stall and has sex with her. Meck comes in and realizes what is going on.
So what did happen to Franz? The car ran over his left hand. The man named Oskar gets out and wonders if the fellow is dead. His companion Marianne tells him that no one saw them. It's the guy's own fault. He fell out of the back of the vehicle. They are not to blame. Oskar says he just can't leave the man here to die. Franz makes a noise and they realize he's alive. They wonder if they should call the police but Franz says please, no police. He asks the couple to drive him to Berlin to his home address. They decide to take Franz where he wants to go.
In Reinhold's apartment, Trude waits for Reinhold. Reinhold finally shows up with Cilly. Trude knows Cilly and she asks Cilly what is she doing here? Reinhold pretends he doesn't know Trude and asks her who is she? And what does she want here? Trude tells him that she loves him. Reinhold calls her an old sow and spits on her. Trude wipes the spit off and sits down. She says Reinhold has been missing for three days. Reinhold starts to push her around. She asks him please don't hurt her. Reinhold says he has had enough of her; he is sick of her; he finds her repulsive; and he tells her to beat it.
Trude says she doesn't understand, so he slaps her. He tells her to get our or he'll kill her. He pushes her out the door. She beats on the front door, but Reinhold ignores her. Now he is so happy saying: "I've done it!" All by himself, he has finally kicked out one of the women he has picked up. As Cilly comes out of the bathroom, he grabs her and tells her what he did.
Franz is in the car with the couple driving to his apartment. He is delirious. He says things like the sun is 300,000 times larger than planet earth; the earth is tiny and insignificant and so all humans are also tiny and insignificant.
The narrator says: "There's no cause for despair." He will continue telling this tale even though it has a bitter, frightful end and he will keep saying: "There's no cause for despair."
Part VII. Remember -- An Oath Can Be Amputated.
Pums tells the members of his gang that Franz Biberkopf is not dead. He only lost his right arm. But many in the gang are worried that Franz will rat on them. Reinhold speaks up and tells the men they are worrying about Franz unnecessarily. He is not the kind of man who will rat on anyone. When the men keep questioning Reinhold he gets angry and tells Pums to tell the men to leave this matter to him. Pums backs up Reinhold saying that Biberkopf is not the type to rat.
Franz is now staying with Eva and Herbert. Biberkopf tells Herbert that he doesn't have to be afraid of prison. It really isn't that much different from the outside world. Herbert doesn't believe it. There are no broads in prison, he says. Franz says that he didn't really miss the broads. Eva tells Franz that he is full of it, but Franz keeps saying he didn't really mind. Herbert says it was a shame what happened to Ida. Franz completely agrees with him. After Herbert makes several more references to Ida, Franz tells him that he didn't mean to do it. Eva says that everyone knows that Franz.
Franz says he would really like to get out of Berlin. He wants to leave behind all this unpleasantness. But Eva tells him that the men responsible for the loss of his arm must be punished. She says they ruined Franz's nerves. Franz says that won't bring his arm back. He says the arm had to go, so he doesn't really minds its loss.
Pums tells Reinhold and the rest of the gang that there has been a lot of talk about Franz in the syndicate. Herbert Wischow is agitating against them, saying they're a bunch of pigs, that Biberkopf didn't want to go along with them, that they forced him to and that, afterwards, they threw him out of the car. Reinhold lies and says that's not true. Pums says that's what he told everyone, but once a rumor gets started it's impossible to stop it. Now they will have to show Franz some good will. They must now help Franz with his recuperation, including his doctor's bills. They take up a collection for Franz. Reinhold says he will not contribute. His idea is that they should do Franz in. All the men stare at Reinhold because of his attitude.
Eva tells Franz that she is going to Zoppot with Herbert. She hopes Franz will be a little jealous, but he's not. Gang member Bruno comes over to the apartment. Eva freaks out. She screams for Franz to get rid of him. Franz tells her to calm down. A bewildered Bruno sticks his hand in his pocket to get the collection money, but Eva freaks out again yelling to Franz that he is going to shoot them. Eva starts literally begging for her life. She says she doesn't want to die. Franz verbalizes what he is thinking. He says he has to grab a chair and hit the man. He picks up a chair, but suddenly he grabs his chest and down he goes. Bruno just gets the hell out of there. The narrator says that Franz has to get up and get away. He has to get out of Berlin or they're going to kill him.
Cilly comes home to Reinhold. She tells him she got a performing job. She is hoping that Reinhold will be happy for her, for both of them, but he is not especially happy. Cilly reproaches him for his attitude. So Reinhold says: "Sure, I'm happy." He tries to console her and she says she's sorry for crying and making such a fuss. She only wanted to make him happy.
Franz says to himself that he won't die. Sheer anxiety gets him out of bed. He has to go out; must run from death, says the narrator. Franz goes to the red light district. There are half-naked women hanging out of the windows on both sides of the street along with half-naked women on the streets. Franz looks around, doesn't find anything special and starts to leave. A pimp grabs him and takes him on a little tour of the place of the different options available for sexual pleasure. But Franz decides not to choose one of the options. He leaves.
He goes into a bar and orders three beers and a liquor. One of the ladies there likes him and she sits down to talk with him. After they talk awhile, Franz tells the lady: "Let's get out of here!" The first place he goes with her is down into the subway to see his old mentor. And the old man is still there at his kiosk. The old guy tells Franz that it has been so long since he last saw him that he figured Franz was dead. Meck is nearby. Franz says hello to him, but Meck starts virtually running from him. Biberkopf yells and stops him. He asks him if there is something wrong? Did he do anything bad? Meck says no, he didn't do anything wrong. Franz asks about Cilly. Meck says he hasn't heard anything about her lately. Franz says now he works as a barker for a carousel and boxes with his one arm against any and all challengers. Meck thinks Franz is acting a bit strange.
Note: Either I am a free man or no man at all. There is a Grim Reaper whose name is Death and now let's pull up our pants, stand up straight and march into Berlin.
At the pool tables Franz and his girl from the bar sit drinking. Cilly comes on stage and starts singing. She goes into the audience to interact with some of the men in the crowd and after awhile she sees Franz. She returns to the stage and then runs back stage. Cilly goes to the dressing room where Reinhold reads a paper. He asks her what's wrong, but she says nothing happened. But after a bit of thinking she says to Reinhold: "You knew he wasn't dead." Reinhold says he doesn't even know what she's talking about. She says: "You knew perfectly well that he was still alive. Franz. You deliberately didn't tell me. . . . You're a swine." Reinhold leaves. She sits before the mirror asking herself: "Why didn't he tell me?"
At the pool bar, Franz tells the man across from him that he is leaving the woman behind and to tell her that Franz had something he had to take care of.
Part VIII. The Sun Warms the Skin, But it Burns it Too.
Franz bangs on the bar door. Max lets him in. Max tells Franz that he hasn't seen him in a long time. Franz says he was learning lessons about life. He reads the newspaper about a man who threw his three children into the river. Franz for some reason finds the story funny. And now he wants to know if the man killed his wife too. But he reads and finds out that she killed herself. This makes him laugh all the louder. His wife saved him the effort of having to kill her. Max tells Franz that he doesn't know him like this. And he really doesn't approve since the story is a tragedy.
Franz talks with Mrs. Bast. He asks her what can he do with one arm? She suggests he go back into sales.
The guy from the bar, Willy, comes to see Franz Franz wants to talk to him about the watches Willy told him about. Maybe he could sell them. Willy asks him if he gives Franz something each day, can he get rid of it everyday? Franz says he can After the visit, Franz goes down to the red light district. He speaks with the pimp again.
Franz knocks on Willy's door. Willy lets him in and tells Franz he has some furs from Leipzig that he wants Franz to sell. But Franz doesn't like this. He says the furs are too hot for him. He will take small things and sell them, but not big items like furs.
Eva and Herbert visit Franz. They are just back from Zoppot. Eva tells Franz that she has a girl for him. Franz is taken aback a bit that Eva decided to get him a girl.
The new girl comes to see Franz. She looks like a young Cilly. After a few awkward moments, Franz asks her to sit on his lap. He asks her name. She says she is Emilie Karsunke, but prefers to be called Sonia. But Franz says he is tired of these foreign names. He wants to call her Marie. Sonia doesn't like the name. So he tells her he will call her Mieze. Sonia likes the name Mieze a lot better. Franz takes Mieze rowing on the lake. It's a bit rough for him to row with just one arm, but he manages. In the woods they play some type of hide and seek game that involves Franz wearing a blindfold. Franz falls down and cuts himself on the forehead. Mieze runs over to him. She starts crying and Franz asks her what's the matter? She says: "It's just that I love you so much."
Franz is fast asleep. Mieze slips into the room and puts a yellow bird in a cage on the table. She also places a gift wrapped bottle of liquor on the table. She writes him a note, checks on his sleeping and slips out of the apartment. The closing of the door awakens Franz. Then the door bell of the building rings. Franz sees the bird, the bottle and the note. He is very tickled by Mieze's thoughtfulness, especially since it isn't even his birthday. Willy comes to visit again. He wants to know why didn't Franz show up yesterday? Franz says he was out rowing Mieze around a lake and he lost track of time. Willy is not upset with him but he does want some notification if Franz is not going to show up. He tells Franz that he will see him this afternoon.
Mrs. Bast gives Franz a letter for Mieze. Franz is very curious as to who wrote his Mieze a letter, so he opens it and reads the letter. The letter is from a fellow who says that he is disabled because three men beat him up. Somehow Franz concludes that it is a love letter to his Mieze.
Eva hears a banging on her door. She opens the door and there's Franz. He has her look at the "love letter" to his Mieze. But Eva has other things on her mind. She starts wrapping herself over Franz's body. She says that Herbert went to Breslau and wont be back for a day or more. She kisses Franz. She tells him she is crazy about him. She keeps pressuring him and he gives in and to the floor they go. They have sex.
After the sex Franz wants to know Eva's opinion about the letter. Eva looks it over again and tells Franz that she is going to go have a word with Mieze. Franz stays behind to wait for Eva's return. It does not take Eva long to find Mieze. She is with another man. Eva calls her over to her. They get into a taxi. She shows Mieze the letter, but Mieze just finds it funny and laughs about it. It's obvious that Mieze doesn't understand the impact of the letter. So Eva has to tell her slowly that it's a problem because Franz opened and read the letter. He believes it is a love letter and he is very upset about it. Mieze quickly sobers up. She asks Eva if it's all over now between her and Franz? Eva tells her that she should tell Franz about the letter. Mieze doesn't want to. She asks Eva if she would talk to Franz. He listens to her. So Eva says she will speak to Franz.
Eva returns to her apartment. She awakens Franz sleeping at the table. Eva says Mieze laughed when she read the letter. The letter doesn't mean anything, Eva tells Franz. She's a good girl. Franz asks how can she be a good girl when she's cheating on him? Eva says there is no cheating involved in this. It's not Mieze's fault if some guy develops a crush on her and writes her a letter And certainly there is nothing new in this for Franz, surely. But Franz doesn't seem to be hearing her or doesn't seem to understand Eva, because he says: "Here we go again. That's how the wind blows, eh?"
Part IX. About the Eternities Between the Many and the Few.
Eva tells Franz that Mieze just wants to make her own money. Franz collapses again.
The news of the day is about the airship Italia, with General Nobile on board, having crashed somewhere northeast of Spitzbergen. And the King of Spain is quarreling with dictator General Primo. The Princess of Sweden is all aflame for a prince from Baden.
The narrator says that women are his mortal weakness. But what can he do?
Franz says he just felt a little queasy. Eva tells Franz that he does not realize just how much Mieze loves him. Eva asks: "Or do you want me?" Franz tells her no because she has to stay with Herbert. He thinks Herbert is a good guy. Eva tells Franz where he can find Mieze at work. Franz watches Mieze working the corner. He buys some flowers for her. When Mieze sees Franz she runs over to him. He gives her his arm and she takes it. When he finally gives her the flowers, Mieze almost faints. Mieze starts crying and Franz tells her not to cry. They hug and kiss. Franz tells Mieze that he is going to do something now that he is strong enough. Franz goes to visit the pimp that he has visited now and then without partaking of his services. Our hero becomes a pimp.
Franz goes to see Reinhold. When Reinhold sees him, he pulls out his pistol. Franz, speaking about himself, tells Reinhold that at one time he was a decent guy, but now he's a pimp. He tells Reinhold to put the pistol away for Reinhold has nothing to fear from him. Reinhold wants to know why Franz came to see him. Does he want money? Is Franz going to blackmail him? Franz says he doesn't want anything from Reinhold. Reinhold relaxes a bit and tells him that Cilly was with him for awhile for a sort of repeat performance.
Franz says to Reinhold: "I really ought to kill you." But, he says, he doesn't want that at all. His problem is that with his one arm he can't do anything. Franz says he isn't a man at all, just chicken shit. Reinhold tells Franz that he would like to see his injury. Franz removes his coat and open his shirt. Reinhold takes a look and says it looks rather nasty. He suggests that Franz fill his right jacket sleeve with various material so it will look like he has a right arm with his hand in his right pocket. He starts to stuff various things into the sleeve despite Franz's protests that that's not going to do him any good. Reinhold reveals his real problem. He says: "I can't stand cripples."
At home Mieze shines Franz's shoes. He tells her that he will never let her go. And she says she will never leave him. Franz goes out and runs into Willy. The two of them go to Maxi's bar. Maxi is very worried about Franz. He tells Franz that he is back where he started. He's a pimp. He asks him, didn't he take an oath? Maxi says Ida is now Mieze. And now he has lost an arm and his drinking is just as bad as before. Franz becomes very defensive and claims that he gave it his best shot. Maxi says Franz will end up in jail or with a knife in his gut. Willy picks up the theme. He asks Franz why does he continue doing this to himself? It's always the same old story. For instance, why does Franz keep coming back to the same places? They could, for example, go to a different bar.
To give Franz a change of routine, Willy takes him to a political meeting. The speaker is someone who is a socialist but is very disillusioned with the Socialist Party in Germany. The fellow is not a good speaker because it's not exactly clear what he's for or against. After the talk Willy and Franz speak with another man from the audience. Franz tells him that he's not interested in political discussions. The fellow is a socialist and wants to know what work Franz does. Franz doesn't want to tell him. He says he doesn't work. This puzzles the man who tells him to do nothing one has to have some form of work. Franz just keeps assuring him that he does not work.
Franz takes Willy to see Eva. He rings the doorbell and then hides. When Eva comes out to see who is there, he jumps out at her. Eva tells him he shouldn't deliberately scare her. Franz grabs her left breast with his one hand, but Eva tells him that Herbert is here. Franz lets go. He introduces Willy to her. They go into the apartment and Herbert meets Willy and greets Franz warmly. Franz does a terrible job talking about politics and Eva is very impatient with him. She leaves saying she is going to meet with Mieze.
Part X. Loneliness Tears Cracks of Madness in Walls.
Eva takes Mieze to the really fancy apartment of one of her wealthy clients. Eva tells her that the client is crazy about her. She shows Mieze the apartment including the monkeys in a large cage. She asked for the cage because Herbert loves monkeys. When Herbert comes here, he likes to play with the primates. Mieze is shocked that Eva would bring Herbert to the apartment. Eva tells her it's good for business, because this keeps the client jealous and he showers her with gifts. Eva says the client is so crazy about her that he says he wants a child by her. She, however, does not want a child with the client. She wants one from Herbert, but he can't have children. Then she mentions that she would like a child with Franz.
At this last remark Mieze goes wild. She starts kissing Eva's clothes and hugging her. She says she is so happy. She is very happy that Eva likes Franz. Mieze urges Eva to ask Franz about having a child with her as soon as possible. Eva can't believe what she is hearing from Mieze. She asks her: "Are you crazy, Mieze?" She wonders if Mieze is trying to match her up with Franz. But Mieze denies that saying he's my Franz. But, she adds, Eva is her Eva. So now Eva asks Mieze if she is a lesbian? Not at all says Mieze. No, she just likes Eva. And she's just so happy.
Eva is confused. She tells Mieze that if she really loves Franz, then she must take good care of him. For instance, this Willy is just no good for Franz. He will get Franz into trouble. Eva says that now both she and Mieze no longer know what Franz is up to these days. They don't have the time to follow him around. Eva says he's into politics with these communists and anarchists and all these bums. She gets so exasperated with Mieze that she tells her that if she wasn't so young, she would clobber her right now. "Do you want to let Franz go to the dogs again?" Mieze says he won't go to the dogs. She gets very upset and now Eva has to tell her not to take it too much to heart.
Willy struts around the bar saying that people should believe in Nietzsche because everything else is drivel. Maxi doesn't like hearing that. Franz talks with Eddie, who has a very sick wife at home. Maxi thinks Eddie is talking about Karl Marx again and says it doesn't do them any good talking about politics. Maxi says he just wants to live. Eddie says he won't have any more work because no orders are coming into the firm. He tells Maxi that it's not as simple as he thinks. One doesn't need Karl Marx to know when one is beaten up by the system. Franz gets up to leave. Willy wants to hang out with him, but Franz tells him he wants to go to bed early tonight.
Walking along Franz repeats almost everything he heard from Eddie. He hails a cab and tells the driver to take him to Tegel. A policeman finds Franz sleeping on a bench. He wakes Franz up to tell him he can't sleep in the park. The policeman wants to know doesn't he have a home to go to? Yes, says Franz, he was just wanted to visit his old prison, Tegel. But suddenly he got tired, sat down and fell asleep. Talking with the police officer, Franz gets tired again and tries to lay down and go to sleep. The officer won't let him do that. He says to Franz that he is not right in the head. Who would go visit a prison and then fall asleep on a park bench? So Franz finally calls for a taxi and tells the driver to take him home.
Mieze and Mrs. Bast help Franz into his apartment. Mrs. Bast is worried that Franz is drinking again. He had quit for awhile, but is back into it. Franz sleeps through the night in his chair. The next morning Mieze is mad at him and won't talk to him. Franz tells her he hates it when she says nothing. So she tells him she is mad at him because he is making himself so unhappy. And that's because he gets involved with the wrong people, like Willy. She begs him not to get involved in politics. Franz says he's not involved with politics. She asks him to stop going to those political meetings. He agrees not to go anymore. Now Mieze is happy and she hugs Franz. But then she goes back to staring out the window, which irritates Franz.
Mieze tells Franz that she has found a guy who wants something more permanent with her. And he's almost as rich as the man that Eva has. And he's married which is good. He has rented an apartment for her. Franz says there's something else behind what she says. He gets angry and busts a plate on the floor. Mieze rushes to him and tells him there's nothing else behind it. He seems to believe her. They kiss. He tells her that she really can scare a guy.
Mieze is going to go look at the new apartment. Oh, by the way, there is something else. She has agreed with Eva to let her have a baby by him. Franz is shocked and says he knew there was something behind it. She is trying to get rid of him. She tells him no she isn't. Franz doesn't believe it. He falls to his knees, leans on a chair and cries. He says he's like an animal being led to the slaughter. And he goes on so that Mieze starts screaming for him to stop talking like that. Mieze tells him she loves him and thinks she will always love him. But three doctors have told her that she cannot have a child. So when Eva said she wanted a baby by him, she was so happy. Because if Franz has a baby, then she will have a baby too. Franz hugs and kisses her. Then she runs out of the apartment.
Eva comes in to see Franz. She kisses him and says she figures Mieze told him. Yes. She asks him if he wants to do it? He nodsd yes. She is so happy, she grins ear to ear.
Eva and Franz are finishing getting dressed when a car horn is heard. Eva tells Franz to hurry up. They rush outside. Herbert waits for them in the car. Eva tells Herbert to stop at Dorfmann's so she can pick up a slip. He stops the car at the shop and Eva goes inside. Franz offers Herbert a drink. He doesn't want any and tells Franz that he shouldn't drink so much. Franz says he only drinks out of boredom and he can handle his liquor. Herbert tells him that he is developing bags under his eyes like an old man. It's making Franz old. Franz asks what do they all want from him? He's 100% percent an invalid, but everyone finds fault with him. Herbert tells Franz that even with just one arm he can work. He tells Franz to make a new start. Take Mieze with him and go to the country. He suggests Franz may end up doing to Mieze what he did to Ida.
Eva jumps in the car with her package. She notices that something's up. Franz tells her what happened and Eva gets mad at Herbert. Herbert says he just doesn't want a repeat of what happened before. Eva gets angry and threatens to hit him with her package. Franz tells them to stop and just drive him home.
At home he asks Mieze if he can booze it up? She says yes, but not too much. Mieze tells him it's not healthy for him. Then she says she will get sloshed with him. Franz is very pleased. They wind up sitting on the floor. Then they both start crying. They engage in some horse play while drinking some more.
Mrs. Bast comes in to tells Mieze that a Mr. Freimut is here for her. Franz asks who it is and she tells him it's the guy with the apartment. She completely forgot about him. She tells Mrs. Bast to send him in. He comes in. He says he has been waiting a long time. She answers that she was coming down. Mieze introduces him to Franz, her husband, she says. And she introduces Franz to George. Franz is polite until he hears that they are going away for two to three days. Franz goes to Mieze and asks if that's the way things are, what does he have that's special from her? She asks Franz: "What should I do?" He sits at the table and cries. Mieze tries to console him, but he screams at her to beat it. He starts talking about his arm and how they took it. And they just left him there. And now there will be no one around to help him. He says they should have finished him off ,for now he is only half a man. George listens to his monologue. Mieze hugs him one last time and leaves with George. She sticks her head in to tell Franz that it's her job. She must do it. She closes the door. Hans walks to the closed door crying out: "Mieze! Mieze! Mieze!"
Part XI. Knowledge is Power and the Early Bird Catches the Worm.
Franz knocks on Reinhold's door. And once again Reinhold has his pistol out and asks who it is. It's Franz. He lets Franz in. They talk. Reinhold is still suspicious of Franz and tells him to tell him straight out what he wants from him. Franz says he doesn't want anything. Settling a score with him wouldn't bring his arm back. Reinhold tells him it must not be a very good life being a pimp. But Franz says he's satisfied. He lives, he has his Mietze, he loves her, she loves him. Franz says he's going out dancing tonight.
Narrator's note. Franz loves two people. His Mieze and Reinhold.
Reinhold tells Pums again that Franz is crazy. Now Franz wants back in with the gang. But we don't need him, says Reinhold. What could he do for us? But Pums tells the gang about the idea anyway. The men are a bit suspicious of Franz's motives. Reinhold says he's afraid of Franz. Maybe Franz wants to get his arm from Reinhold. Someone says maybe he has something to atone for? Reinhold says he'll have to take him down to the Salvation Army and sit him down on the sinners' bench.
The narrator asks: "Why shouldn't Franz sit on the sinners' bench?" And "When will salvation come?"
Franz is with the gang. They put a hole through a roof and Franz helps relay the stolen goods up into the attic.
At home Bruno comes to give Franz his money. Mieze is worried about the money. She asks him what's up? He eventually tells her that he earned the money; he had to earn money; he had to work; or how else can he be a man? He gives the money to her. Mieze starts crying. And now she asks Franz if he is trying to get rid of her? No. She tells him that she makes enough money for both of them. She tells him to give the money to the poor. She doesn't want it. Then Franz must promise her never to do what he did again. Franz explains he didn't do it for the money. Mieze looks scared and runs out of the apartment.
Mieze telephones Eva to ask her what to do. Eva tells Herbert that Franz brought Mieze 200 marks. And yes, it's from Pums. Herbert thinks that Franz wants to get in good with the gang and then bang, he'll kill one of them. Mieze asks what should she do? Herbert says she should let him carry on. Then he tells Eva that Franz will surprise them.
Mieze goes home, but Reinhold stops her. He says he would like to talk with her. He's a friend of Franz. (The narrator says that Mieze should take a good look at Reinhold's face because it will be the most important face in her life -- more important than either the faces of Eva or Franz.) Mieze asks Reinhold if Franz sent him to her. Reinhold says no and she shouldn't tell Franz that they met because he is so sensitive. What he wants to know is does Franz really need to work? No, but a man has to work.
Franz comes walking down the steps to go out. Reinhold grabs her, puts his hand over her mouth and pulls her into a dark corner so Franz won't see them. Franz goes out. Reinhold releases Mieze. Now he goes on to talk about what happened between he and Franz. She asks what happened, but Reinhold just tells her "strange things". But he then starts telling her that Franz and he used to swap women. Mieze starts laughing. She doesn't believe him. Mieze asks Reinhold what he is up to? What's behind all this? He says he was sent by Pums to get some information from her. She looks at her watch and says she has to go. She leaves. Mieze wonders what does Reinhold want?
Reinhold comes into the bar. Meck and Franz are already there. In the men's room Reinhold speaks to Franz. He tells Franz that none of the gang has met his girlfriend. He doesn't bring her around. Franz tells Reinhold that she is a wonderful, warm person who loves her Franz. He starts to tell him about the idea Meize cooked up with Eva, but he stops himself. Reinhold insists on knowing. Franz say he will tell him, but he must keep his mouth shut about it.
Franz brings Reinhold to his apartment so he can meet Mieze. He tells Reinhold to hide under the bed covers and they will scare Mieze. Reinhold says things are bound to go wrong with this, but Franz just asks him if he is afraid?
Mieze comes home. She is upset. She had a date with her benefactor, but when she went to his place he was not there. His nephew was there; a young guy; she just had to. She tells Franz not to do anything to her. She cries. Franz asks if she loves the nephew and she says yes. Franz looks at her and then tells her to go. She runs to him and hugs him but he does not respond. She says she did nothing wrong. Mieze says she told the guy that it was impossible, that she belonged to Franz. But Franz tells her to go to the guy she loves. He doesn't want a woman like her. She says she ran away and came to him. Franz should be trying to console her. He tells her to get out. She pleads with him and he snaps once again. He hits her, then gets on top of her and starts slapping her. Neither Mrs. Bast, who is watching, nor Reinhold come to her rescue.
Franz drags Reinhold from under the covers and tells him to get out. He pulls him out the door. Mieze just stands in the middle of the room screaming. Franz releases Reinhold and tells her to stop that screaming. She won't stop. Franz starts screaming too and falls on the floor. Then he puts his body over her face saying he will kill her. Mrs. Bast finally goes over to Reinhold to get him to stop Franz. Reinhold stands there for a little while, but finally jumps into action. He pulls Franz off Mieze. He gets Franz's hat and coat and puts them on him and tells him to leave until he has settled down. Otherwise, he is going to wind up killing Mieze. Mieze says she is coming with Franz. Reinhold tells her no, she's staying in the apartment. He'll help her in a minute. He sends Franz out. Mieze still wants to go with Franz, but Reinhold won't let her. She tells him to get out! Get out! Reinhold leaves. Mrs. Bast says she will help Mieze.
Eva and Mrs. Bast work on Mieze with ice packs. Mrs. Bast says she was scared to death. It was the same with Ida. Thank God that man was here. What man? asks Eva. Meize tells her it was Reinhold. Mrs. Bast says the man saved Mieze's life. She says: "It was pure hell." She leaves. Eva rushes over to Meize and tells her she must tell her why Reinhold was here. Mieze says she doesn't understand why he was here. He was hiding under the bed covers. Eva tells her that she must find out why. She tells Eva that something bad is going to happen. Now Franz is mixed up with the gang and Reinhold is part of that gang.
Eva now says she will take Mieze downstairs to see Franz. Mieze tries to pull away from her. She is obviously afraid of Franz. But Eva insists that Mieze go downstairs and forgive Franz. Otherwise, he will not forget it. Mrs. Bast stands at the door just shaking her head in disbelief. Mieze goes to him and calls him her dear Franz. He tells her he feels so ashamed. Mieze says he has nothing to be ashamed of. She loves him and he loves her. He takes her out for a ride in the country in a taxi. He says he almost killed her. She says it's okay. They're back together.
They stop at a restaurant. A woman seems to recognize him. Mieze notices her and stops. She asks if Franz knows her. No. Why then is the woman staring? That what eyes are for, he says, and drags her to a table. He asks Mieze doesn't she want to know why Reinhold was in their bed? She says no, because it isn't true that he wanted to sell her to Reinhold. But she doesn't want to know because she knows that Franz was not going to sell her to Reinhold. Franz is shocked. He asks her where did she ever get that idea from? She answers that it doesn't matter. The waitress comes over to their table and asks what they want. Franz tries to avoid eye contact.
Franz tells Mieze that Reinhold is his friend, but he's a swine with girls. He wanted to show Reinhold what a decent girl is like. For once, he wanted him to see a decent girl. He then asks her if she still loves him or does she love her benefactor's nephew. She hangs her head, pauses and then tells him: "I'm yours, Franz. I belong to you, you alone." He touches her hand and then they hold hands.
They take a walk in the woods. Mieze finds what she was looking for. It's the place where they played Blind Man's Buff. It's where he fell. But Franz wants to talk about his guilt feelings. Mieze tells him not to think of it or it will drive him crazy. She jumps for joy. They sit down and she tells him that she is glad in a way that it happened. Now they share a secret and everything is much stronger between them. She is no longer afraid of Pums and his gang. She is not afraid because she knows that she is going to protect him.
Part XII. The Serpent in the Soul of the Serpent.
Mieze gives Franz a towel bath. He tries to stop her because it tickles, but she insists on continuing. She asks if he is going to do another job with Pums? Maybe. Mieze wants him to take her along with him when he goes to the gang or to the bar. Franz says he doesn't want her mixing with scum like that. Nevertheless, she wants him to take her sometime. Miez washes the apartment floor. Franz horse plays with her a little and then wants to have sex, but she's busy working. She starts work again and then they horseplay awhile. This time he gets her over to the bed.
Franz brings Mieze to the bar. Pums and his wife along with Reinhold are there. Everyone looks at the couple. He introduces her to Maxie Next comes Meck. Franz says he's the only one in the gang who is an okay guy. If she has problems, she can come to him. Reinhold says Franz is full of himself again, showing off his girlfriend. He also says that maybe he will take Mieze away from Franz one of these days. He goes over to Franz's table and says a few words to Franz and Mieze. He then challenges Franz to a game.
Franz sends Mieze over to talk with Meck. She asks Meck if she is disturbing him, but he says she could never disturb him. But he is curious as to why Franz would send her over to talk to him. He and Franz have not spoken for a long time. Mieze says she doesn't understand it. In fact, she knows very little about Franz. She just loves him. Meck says that's good because Franz is a good guy and deserves some loving. His game finished, Franz and Mieze go sit down.
Reinhold speaks to Meck about helping him set up a chance for him to be alone with Mieze. Meck says he won't help him with a dirty trick like that. Reinhold says if he doesn't help him, he will tell Pums where that missing mink coat went. So when Franz goes to the men's room, Meck goes to speak with Mieze. He tells her that if she wants to know more about Franz, they could meet together sometime. Mieze is very grateful for the offer. She says they can meet Monday at 2 p.m.
Franz comes back and Meck gets up. He tells Franz that Mieze is a real nice girl and good for him. Franz takes this the wrong way and says that's his own business. Meck walks away. Mieze tells him that Meck was not bothering her.
Monday, September 1, 1928. Mieze complains that Franz is not speaking to her. He tells her that he feels so alone, whenever she goes and it's usually for two to three days. She says her guy is going to a conference and it is boring for her too. She has to sit around in the hotel all day. After she gets him to say that he loves her, she leaves.
Meck says he is taking Mieze to Freienwalde where she has been a couple of times with Franz walking in the forest. When they arrive, Mieze sees Reinhold there at a table. She knows what's up now. Meck says something self-serving. He truly believes it is in her and Franz's best interests in the long run. And believe it or not, Mieze says she believes him. The waitress who knows Franz watches Reinhold and Mieze. Meck sits with them for awhile. Mieze tells Reinhold that she has been here with Franz before. The waitress comes out to say there is a telephone call for Mr. Meck. He leaves the table. Mieze asks Reinhold if he always has to resort to such tricks to talk to women? She says she wants him to talk straight with her. Meck says he has to leave, but he certainly has a strange look on his face wondering just what Reinhold will do with Mieze.
On a walk in the forest Reinhold asks her if she wants to see the tattoo on his chest and starts unbuttoning his shirt. She looks at it. He grabs her and tells her to kiss it. She tells him to let go of her. She starts to run. He shouts that he didn't do anything. She stops. He comes up to her. She says he has to behave himself and he agrees. She asks him why he has a tattoo of an anvil on his chest and wrist? He says it's his coat of arms. She tells Reinhold that he is a swine: "You might as well have a bed put their instead." She asks Reinhold what does the gang do? He tells her to ask Franz, but she says Franz doesn't tell her anything. He asks if he tells her, will he get a kiss? Yes, if you tell me, she says. He grabs her and kisses her. He holds her so tight that she tells him to stop it. He lets go and flops onto the woods floor, but gets up again and fondles her through her clothes. She tells him he is crazy and to get away from her.
Reinhold takes off his jacket. places it on the forest floor and signals her to sit. She sits. He lays down beside her. She lays her head on his chest. A little later she climbs on top of Reinhold, they start hugging and kissing and rolling on the forest floor. But she tells him to stop after just a little bit of this. He lets go of her and she gets up. Reinhold asks her what she wants and she says to be his. She tells him to tell her about Franz. He says he's not telling her anything. He grabs her and takes her to the forest floor again. She says to let her up because her clothes are getting all dirty. He asks her if he tells her something, what will he get in return? Mieze says: "Anything you want." He asks: "Everything?" He kisses her and then lays his body over hers. She says he is too heavy. He gets up. Reinhold starts telling about himself and Franz with the women. After awhile, Mieze tells him she can't stand it when anyone criticizes Franz.
Reinhold holds her again too tight and Mieze gets mad. She reprimands him and then says he's stupid for calling her his Mieze. This makes Reinhold so mad that he raises his hand to hit her and Mieze runs for it. He catches her and throws her down as if it is going to be a rape, but he gets up suddenly saying that the doesn't assault women. He tells her to beat it, then laughs and says: "Getting on her high horse. And she's just a cripple's whore." She tells him he's just a dirty little swine. But then she goes to him and stands with her back against him.
Reinhold tells her how he pushed Franz out of the car on a burglary and Franz lost his arm. Then he says now Mieze will fall in line. But instead she starts screaming and calling him names. She starts attacking him saying it was Reinhold who made Franz so unhappy. He grabs her tightly and she says she wants to leave. He releases her only to throw her to the ground once again. This time he holds his hand over her mouth and nose to silence her screaming saying it was she who lured him out into the forest to pump information from him and now that she knows what she has to know she screams "murderer!" When Mieze goes limp, Reinhold gets up and leaves. Mieze lays there completely still.
Part XIII. The Outside and the Inside and the Secret of Fear of the Secret.
At home Franz wears Mieze's hat and lipstick. He is getting sloshed and thinks about some of the things Mieze said to him. He obviously feels miserable. Eva comes to visit Franz. She reproaches him for sitting there all alone. Franz says Mieze has left him. She says he could have called her. Mrs. Bast had to call her. Eva assures him that Mieze loves him. She says she is a good judge of character and has known Eva for a lot longer than he has. She probably got some bee in her bonnet and took a spin somewhere. Mieze does those kinds of things.
Franz says it's still strange. Eva changes the topic by saying come feel her tummy. She is pregnant. This makes Franz smile. He gets up and kneels in front of Eva, holding her and putting his head on her tummy. Eva says when Mieze sees it she will be so happy. But then Eva starts crying. Franz says, you see, now you're crying. If everything is okay, why is she crying? Eva says she can't understand Mieze. She can't stand her being gone. Franz says that now he has to comfort her and she told him everything would be fine.
Franz changes the subject by asking Eva if he could listen to the baby again? Yes. He does so. Eva tells him that she is going to keep the baby even if Herbert says anything. Has Herbert said anything? asks Franz. No, because he thinks it's his child. Franz says he will be the baby's godfather. Eva leaves. Franz is a bit bewildered by the situation and goes back to his drinking.
Franz takes a walk in the Freienwalde forest. Mieze has been gone for three weeks. He calls out for Mieze.
Franz goes to see Pums and runs into Reinhold. He says long time no see and Reinhold says he has been away. He found a new girlfriend with lots of loot. Reinhold and Franz join the discussion between Pums and the gang. Reinhold is one of those who argue that they should each work on their own. Meck and another guy named Rudi argue that the best organization would be one where everyone has an equal say in what is done. Bruno says that it's not just stealing that's involved. Someone has to fence the goods and that's why Pums is so essential. He has the connections. But the guys have figured out that Pums is a silent partner in a lot of fur and clothing stores, as well as other stores. That's why they never go after money, just the goods so Pums can trade the goods with his own shops.
Rudi tells them he has a plan. He knows of a shop that has a safe with lots of money in it. Meck suggests they take a vote on it. Pums thinks the idea is ridiculous, but says okay, they can have their vote. Reinhold comes over to Franz and says with Franz's vote they should be the majority.
The men are working on opening the safe with a blow torch. Meck can't get the safe open in the given time. The guard is due back. The gang has to get out. Rudi pours gasoline on the floor and lights it. But Meck was still trying to get the safe open. Now his left hand is burned and he screams in pain. In the get-away car Pums says goods are best.
Franz takes Meck home with him. He asks Mrs. Bast for bandages. Waiting in Franz's apartment Meck thinks about Mieze and Franz. He says to himself that Reinhold is a swine. Franz comes back and bandages Meck's left hand. Meck tells Franz that Reinhold is a bad guy. But Franz won't listen to criticism of Reinhold. He says the guy is good inside even if no one else can see it. Franz doesn't want to talk about it anymore. Just as Meck is leaving, he says there is something else he should have told Franz. And he hopes that one day Franz can forgive him. He leaves.
Meck comes to the bar after hours. Maxi lets him in but complains about it. Meck needs some advice. Can a man who helped bury a corpse be charged with a crime? Maxi says it depends on whether or not he knew the person who was killed and if he gained any advantage by the person's death. Meck says there was no advantage in it for him. Maxi says then it's just unlawfully concealing evidence. Meck cries about it. Maxi asks who killed the person? Meck won't say. He leaves.
The police bring Meck to the Freienwalde forest. The commissar asks what she was wearing. A policeman finds a bow that belonged to Mieze and Meck identifies it. The commissar asks Meck how is he going to prove that he did nothing to the woman when Reinhold tells the police that Meck helped kill the girl? What alibi Meck has is very shaky. They wait in the car while the police dig. The police find the pink blouse Mieze was wearing. She was the daughter of a streetcar conductor from Bernau. Her mother ran out on her husband. She sometimes would travel to Berlin and wound up in prostitution.
Eva comes to visit Franz, but she refuses to go into his apartment. She gives Hans the newspaper. He asks Mrs. Bast what's up with Eva? He hasn't done anything. He looks at the paper and sees his picture and a picture of Reinhold. The article speaks of murder. It takes him awhile to realize that Mieze is dead. Eva wants to know from Franz how his picture got in the newspaper? He says that's what he's been wondering about. Strange, he says. He seems almost relieved. Someone has killed Mieze. She didn't run out on him after all!
The Graf Zeppelin arrives over Berlin with poor visibility, says the newspaper headline.
Franz starts laughing his head off. Eva asks him why is he laughing? He kills the canary Mieze gave him. Eva screams. Herbert comes in. Franz tells him they think he killed Mieze. Just because he killed Ida they think that. He asks Eva if there is something wrong with him? Eva tells him no and tries to console him. Franz says that Meck was there too. They dragged Mieze out there. Then Reinhold killed her with brute force. Herbert asks Franz why would Reinhold kill Mieze? Because he wanted to bring Franz down because Franz wasn't in his pocket. He took Mieze from him. Herbert tells Franz if only he had told Mieze about Reinhold and the accident, Mieze would still be alive today. Herbert wants to get Reinhold. Franz tells him to keep his hands off him. He belongs to Franz. Franz starts laughing wildly again and then laughing and crying at the same time.
Franz walks through a city street. There he sees Ida, who he killed. And with Ida is with Franze, one of Reinhold's cast-offs. Two angels walk around Franz. One asks why do they need to protect such an ordinary man such as Franz? Cilly, another Reinhold reject, swings on a swing. Cilly says Franz only plays the innocent, decent guy, but he is a scoundrel. Ida makes fun of him, but a prostitute tells the women to leave him alone because he's crazy. And now he's all washed up.
Franz says that his life is over; finished. He's had enough. Franz reads his own suicide note: "I can't go on living. Say goodbye to my parents and my kid. Life's become an agony for me. Only Reinhold has me on his conscience. . . . He was responsible for my misfortune. I'm all washed up." Franz wants to see his Mieze. He runs into the Jewish fellow Nahum and says he just wants to see Mieze. Nahum says he is dead too and Franz shouldn't take either life or death so seriously. Franz then sees Mrs. Pums and her husband Pums, who hangs from a rope. He killed himself. Franz starts crying because he can't find find Mieze.
In Berlin, in 1927, 48,742 people died, not counting the stillborn: 4,570 of tuberculosis; 6,443 of cancer; 5,656 of heart disease; 4,818 of vascular disease; 5,140 of strokes; 2,419 of pneumonia; 961 of whooping cough; 562 children dies of diptheria; 123 of scarlet fever; 93 of measles; a total of 3,640 infants died. There were 42,696 births.
Franz finds Mieze and starts kissing her and asking why did they kill her?
An angel says: "This man here, however ordinary his path through life may have seemed, differs in one respect from ordinary people." He has failed to grow up. And all those like him ". . . have the tendency, when on the threshold of seeing and feeling, to gain this insight and then slip away and die". Franz hugs his Mieze, but then she suddenly disappears. He starts digging for her. Franz sees the swine Luders. Franz says he was the first to start to ruin him.
Franz falls on the street. People recognize him and call the police. Eva jumps out of her car. She tells Franz they are looking for him. The police sirens are heard. Eva and Herbert leave. Franz says if he can't kill Reinhold, he'll kill himself. He'll go to hell. The police arrive and surround him.
Reinhold is in jail. He says to a fellow inmate that he is ashamed because he loves him. The guy says it's normal in prison. Reinhold says, but it's not normal for him. He says all his life he chased broads, but at the same time he was sick of them. He couldn't stand them. He hugs the man and kisses his neck. Reinhold says he just doesn't understand himself. He says he has to do four years moe here all because of some idiocy. And now his lover is leaving him and he can't stand it. Reinhold tells his lover that he killed a girl. He didn't want to. It just happened.
Flashback. The police bring Reinhold into prison. With two men holding Franz in a straight-jacket, Franz passes Reinhold and his police escort on the stairs. Both men stop, turn and look at each other. Then they continue on.
The Death of a Child and the Birth of a Worthwhile Human Being. Franz's arm is run over by the car. Reinhold goes to the people who ran him over. It is Eva and Herbert. Herbert says they better drive over him again to make sure he's dead. Reinhold takes out a pistol and shoots both of them. Eva loses her child.
The doctors thought Franz was pretending to be crazy. But they transferred him to another place and they still couldn't get a word out of him. He just lies there. He refuses to eat for two days and they take him to a madhouse.
There is a scene where Franz shoots Reinhold dead. Then Reinhold becomes Eva. A group of Nazi toughs attack a group of men. In the mental asylum they have to force feed Franz.
The doctors discuss Franz's case. One of the doctors says he has catatonic stupor. Another one believes there are psychological factors blocking his mind. The others disagree with the latter diagnosis.
Then we see Franz tied to a railing and Reinhold is beating him by hitting him on the back with a cloth. Franz is released and Reinhold hits him in the stomach area three or four times. Cilly and the Pums gang are all there. Cilly kisses Reinhold. Franz drinks something from a bowl on the floor. A hole opens up in Franz's cell. He climbs through the hole only to find himself in the Salvation Army. Mieze and Reinhold are having sex on the floor. Mieze says Reinhold just fell on her. He must believe her! Franz tells the pimp to hold her back. He leaves.
Franz is the the forest again. He starts digging up the ground.
(I skip here because it's just a bunch of more surrealistic scenes that don't make any real sense.)
Biberkopf ends up working as an assistant gateman checking cars.
I liked the movie (except for the surrealistic Epilogue). Rosemary didn't like it and stopped watching it. Because Franz killed Ida she never liked the man. She said she didn't care what happened to him. Yes, that was upsetting, but Franz is mentally challenged and especially challenged in his emotional intelligence. In the epilogue they refer to Hans as a man who never grew up -- as a child. And considering him as somewhat of a child, I was still interested in seeing him do alright although there are plenty of warnings in the film about the end not being very pleasant. In the film it is mentioned that the corrosive Weimar Republic atmosphere helped do Franz in, but I think his biggest problem was not politics, but his own limited intelligence. Like a child, Franz trusted people who are not to be trusted. This is especially true in his love for Reinhold, who was out to destroy Franz. Franz bears much of the fault for the death of the woman he really loved, Mieze. If he could have seen that Reinhold was not worthy of trust and if he had told Mieze to stay completely away from Reinhold because he tried to kill him, Mieze may have avoided being killed. Heck, if Franz was not so emotionally challenged he himself would have stayed away from Reinhold.
It was disappointing that there wasn't more on the political and cultural atmosphere of Weimar Germany. And the Nazis only played a tiny part in the film.
There are, however, some nice love stories: of Franz and Eva and Franz and Mieze, despite the constant ups and downs in their relationships. I kept wanting to watch more to see what would happen to the three people. Personally, I felt sorry for Franz. As a mentally challenged person, he should have had a trustworthy protector to help run interference for him. Eva was only a part-time protector.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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