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 ‘BABYLON BERLIN’ IS A BIG-BUDGET CAUTIONARY TALE AGAINST BIGOTRY
AND EXCESS  
[https://portside.org/2018-02-11/babylon-berlin-big-budget-cautionary-tale-against-bigotry-and-excess]


 

 Tess Cagle 
 February 2, 2018
Daily Dot [https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/netflix-babylon-berlin/] 

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 _ Aside from the sheer entertainment of the series, Babylon
Berlin offers its new American audience the warning it needs in 2018.
As the plot progresses, Rath must choose between his morals and
nationalism—something Americans struggle with often in the 21st
century. But Babylon Berlin shows us how a progressive nation can
crumble when it allows bigotry and intolerance to fester. _ 

 Netflix, 

 

There are dozens of historical documentaries, TV series, and movies
that depict World War II, share the stories of the oppressed, and look
at the lasting impact of war. These depictions present warnings to us
of what happens when bigotry and intolerance spread like wildfire.

But most stories glaze over the “why?” when discussing the rise of
the German Nazi Party, in fear of being accused of looking sympathetic
toward the men responsible for the deadliest war in human history.
German TV show _Babylon Berlin_, however, doesn’t shy away from
giving us an explanation.

The TV series imported from Germany premiered this week on Netflix
[https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/best-netflix-shows], although
it’s already been televised in Germany and the U.K. The series,
which just won best drama series at the German TV Awards
[https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/babylon-berlin-takes-top-honors-at-german-tv-awards-1079614],
takes viewers back in time to the Weimar Republic in the Golden
Twenties. For Americans who might be less familiar with German
history, the Weimar Republic was the unofficial designation for the
German state between World War I and World War II.

Show creators Tom Tykwer, Hendrik Handloegten, and Achim von Borries
recreate the atmosphere with stunning detail—with production costs
exceeding $40 million
[http://www.wsj.com/video/babylon-berlin-germanys-40-million-tv-show-comes-to-netflix/3C962D13-FD9E-4A8A-B03C-9B11430662B7.html],
the show is the most expensive German TV series and non-English
language drama series ever. The end result is _Cabaret _meets crime
television, with a hint of _Moulin Rouge_’s darker imagery.

[netflix babylon berlin]Videoland/YouTube
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV202fHfAnQ]

_Babylon Berlin_ shines a light on the German capital as it was on
the cusp of becoming swallowed up by Nazi propaganda. Extreme poverty,
anger, mental illness, partying, and drugs plagued the Weimar Republic
as the population was left reeling from war and reconciling with the
Treaty of Versailles. Much like biblical Babylon in Christian history,
Berlin citizens have become obsessed with worldly things—like sex,
alcohol, and drugs—and forsaken God for more surface-level pleasure
to cope with their trauma.

The series begins a protagonist and police investigator, Gereon Rath,
arrives to Berlin from Cologne, Germany, on a mission to track down a
pornography ring that has incriminating footage of Cologne
Mayor Adenauer, a social democrat. Rath hopes to destroy the evidence
before the local elections begin—the same local elections the Nazi
Party in real life eventually wins in 1933.

Throughout his investigations, Rath takes viewers through the depths
of Berlin culture during a period when the city was considered
radically progressive throughout the world and shows viewers how the
city had already begun rotting from the inside. Even Rath himself, a
World War I veteran silently suffering from post-traumatic stress
tremors, displays the nation’s reluctance to grapple with the
lasting effects of war. As citizens fled to nightclubs to party away
their PTSD, political factions in every corner of Berlin had already
begun radicalizing.

[netflix babylon berlin]Videoland/YouTube
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV202fHfAnQ]

For Americans, the series is at times hard to follow—especially
during plots surrounding the several different political factions
fighting to gain power. Netflix’s decision to combine two seasons
into one disrupts proceedings, too: The halfway point feels like a
season finale in stakes and scope. 

But actors Volker Bruth (Rath) and Liv Lisa Fries (Rath’s sidekick,
Charlotte Ritter) carry the plot, peppered with moments of surreal
suspense, seamlessly, even in the few scenes that seem a little too
outrageous (like a ridiculous shootout atop a moving train.) It’s
easy to see why the show is so popular in Germany, where it drew more
than one million viewers its first week
[https://www.screendaily.com/news/babylon-berlin-creators-get-funding-for-third-season-of-hit-crime-drama/5124694.article] and
became the most successful series start in the territory behind _Game
Of Thrones_.

Aside from the sheer entertainment of the series, _Babylon
Berlin _offers its new American audience the warning it needs in
2018. As the plot progresses, Rath must choose between his morals and
nationalism—something Americans struggle with often in the 21st
century. But _Babylon Berlin _shows us how a progressive nation can
crumble when it allows bigotry and intolerance to fester.

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