Thursday, May 31, 2018

More about Babylon Berlin

Gee, this Netflix show (watched episode 5 last night) continues to impress, for the following reasons:

*  the cinematic scale and direction is obvious in every episode - so many extras costumed up;  streetscapes, nightclubs and subway stations that are completely convincingly art directed (if that's the word) for the era.   No doubt, some of it is digitally created (I have read that one recurring street setting is), but it is very hard to tell where it begins and ends, and most of the settings look satisfyingly large and real.   No wonder it was so expensive to make.

*  I don't know if this will continue for the whole series, but it's pleasantly different to find that the main character, an out of town police detective trying to investigate something in Berlin, seems to be so hapless in so many ways.    It's not played for laughs, but he just seems so unlucky all the time, and it's starting to amuse me.

*  If you ignore the sordid sex aspects, it does make nightclubbing in the era look a hell of a lot more fun than nightclubbing seems to have ever been in my lifetime.   No chemically induced party drugs or electronic doof doof music for them to have a good time - just champagne or spirits and live music.

*  It makes you want to know more about the actual history.   That's not a bad thing at all...

Some links of interest:

The Truth About Babylon Berlin, featuring this take: 
There is some gratuitous sex and violence in Babylon Berlin, which at first had me thinking the show would be just another titillating TV sensation. But the attention paid to costumes, architecture, historic events and other details kept me watching, and it paid off. Aside from being an over the top noir thriller with a labyrinthine plot, the series also serves as a basic primer on the Weimar years.
Heh:  Salon praising it for showing that some women of the time did not shave their armpits.

A professor of German studies has a slightly different take on the aim of the show.  Not entirely sure if he is right, but worth reading.

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