Biberkopf has survived being thrown out of a running car but has lost an arm. How will Pum’s gang react? Will Biberkopf squeal and let everyone know Reinhold did it? What happened to Scilly? Will Biberkopf overcome his loss? How will he make a living? These are some of the questions overhanging this episode.

Biberkopf’s  had bad luck losing an arm but he’s caused bad luck by killing Ida, however unwittingly. He’s lost an arm but he’s no eunuch. What is a man and how to continue to be one in spite of the loss of his arm is a running theme. He considers all kinds of thing but rejects them because they won’t make his arm grow back. Besides, his bad luck is the world’s way of giving someone else a break. The important thing is to be free.

Free Man or No Man At All

What caught my eye in this episode is how Reinhold and Scilly are filmed behind bars and in shadows before eventually coming to light in the end.

The appearance of Udo Kier as a queer billiards player.

Biberkopf decides to go out

The voice-over narration read by Fassbinder about Biberkopf’s need to face the outside world.

The extraordinary red-light-district/ Whore of Baby long sequence (see above). What  could be shown on German television in 1980 remains startling.

The tour de force of acting that is the sequence of Biberkop talking to his beer, filmed mainly in long take. Lamprecht is extraordinary:

José Arroyo





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