‘Babylon Berlin’: sex, drug and crime
Liv Lisa Fries on the set of Moka Efti am Tiergarten
Text Francesco Musolino
In spring 1929 Germany is the heart of the world. Thomas Mann is awarded the Nobel Prize, Marlene Dietrich already is an icon and the Republic of Weimar is about to collapse. Berlin, a non-conventional and sparkling metropolis, offers artistic avant-garde and allows sexual freedom, a border land that dances on the crest of an abyss where everything seems to be possible. It will only be a blinding flash of life, a preface to a new world that will never bloom, overwhelmed by the Führer accession. Welcome to the world of Babylon Berlin, the forty million Euro worth TV series (sixteen episodes soon on Sky Atlantic), welcomed with great enthusiasm worldwide. Inspired by the homonymous novel by Volker Kutscher, published by Feltrinelli, the protagonist is a police inspector from Cologne, interpreted by Volker Bruch, who grapples with a case connected with sadomasochist pornography and night clubs that made the nights in Berlin unforgettable. The naivety of the protagonist will be soon corrupted by that world, amidst drugs, drags, parties and an unlimited desire of transgression. In the background, military operations, freight trains full of toxic gases and violent clashes between police and communists.
Berlin is the veritable protagonist, it was reproduced with more than five-thousand walk-ons and one hundred eighty days of shooting. In 1929 it was split in two parts: the élite made party with soubrettes, champagne and new drugs, poor people were swallowed up by populism. Nazism would have wrecked this world made of star dust and ruins. The real question is another one: what is the safe distance between that illusive world that would have been overwhelmed by the Second World War and our days, between the desire of evasion and social rage?
From November 28th at 9:15PM on Sky Atlantic HD, channel 110 in Italy