SF MOMA has been showing the Fassbinder epic in segments this month. The director adapted Alfred Doblin's 1929 novel about Weimar Berlin, and the 13 episodes were shown on German TV in 1980. Watching the film, for four hours each week for four weeks (either on Thursday evenings or Saturday afternoons) is an amazing experience -- asssaulted by the brutality of the story (the times, the characters, the portrayal of man/woman relationships) and also assaulted by nearly unbelievable beauty (the look of each scene, the light, the sounds).
Criterion Collection has recently released a dvd of the film and SF Moma has a blog with lots of viewer comment. I've been going on Saturdays, but I understand some of the Thursday night viewers go out for drinks and discussion each week. Here's link to a great essay in NY Review of Books
Here the Episode titles (which give a sense of the brutality and the beauty):
- The Punishment Begins
- How is One to Live If One Doesn't Want to Die?
- A Hammer Blow on the Head Can Injure the Soul
- A Handful of People in the Depths of Silence
- A Grim Reaper with Powers from Almighty God
- Love Has Its Price
- Remember: An Oath Can Be Amputated
- The Sun Warms the Skin but Burnts It Sometimes, Too
- About the Eternities between the Many and Few
- Loneliness Tears Cracks of Madness Even in Walls
- Knowledge Is Power, and theEarly Bird Catches the Worm
- The Serpent in the Soul of the Serpent
- The Outside and Inside and the Secret of Fear