Programme

MACK THE KNIFE – BRECHT’S THREEPENNY FILM (MACKIE MESSER: BRECHTS DREIGROSCHENFILM)

Joachim Lang

Germany, Belgium, 2018 / 130 min / Original German version (OV DE) / fiction

Part biopic, part satire, this meta film follows Bertolt Brecht as he takes on the film industry.

1928. Against many odds, Bertolt Brecht's "The Threepenny Opera" becomes a phenomenal success. The film industry picks up the scent and convinces the master playwright to direct a film version of his "play with music". Brecht, however, refuses to play by their rules. While the studio wants to sanitise Brecht’s version, censor the "filth” and tuck at the heart strings to cash in on the success, the author wants to make nothing less than a completely new kind of film. A socialist critique on capitalism, staged as a conflict between Mack the Knife, a London gangster, and Peachum, the head of the beggars' mafia. Brecht does not bow down; he takes the producers to court in order to prove that the moneyed interests are prevailing over his right as an author - and the right of the audience. Provocative, outrageously colourful and merging fact with fiction, Brecht's "true" vision for the film comes to life before the author's eyes. A film that was never made. An artist who challenges the industry and audience alike. A poet directing reality. That has never happened before.

 

+3
+15
Cast & Credits
Cast 
Lars Eidinger, Tobias Moretti, Hannah Herzsprung, Joachim Król, Claudia Michelsen, Britta Hammelstein, Robert Stadlober, Peri Baumeister, Christian Redl
Screenplay 
Joachim Lang, based on “The Threepenny Opera” by Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill, “Die Beule – Ein Dreigroschenfilm”, “Threepenny Novel”, “The Threepenny Lawsuit”, and other texts by Bertolt Brecht
Cinematographer 
David Slama
Sound 
Harald Ansorge, Noemi Hampel
Set 
Benedikt Herforth
Music 
Walter Mair, Kurt Schwertsik
Production 
Zeitsprung Pictures
Coproduction 
Velvet Films
Distribution 
Zeitsprung Pictures
Biography

Joachim Lang was born in Spraitbach, southwestern Germany, in 1959. The playwright, producer and documentary filmmaker wrote his dissertation on film adaptations of Brecht's epic theatre, particularly "The Threepenny Opera". As artistic director of the Brecht Festival in Ausgburg for eight years, Lang completed a significant number of projects and films about the poet. Lang is a member of the German Academy of the Performing Arts and a professor at the Film Academy of Baden-Württemberg. As author and director, he has completed several feature and documentary films including George (2013), a biopic about German actor Götz George, Brecht – Die Kunst zu leben (2006) and Jud Süß – Ein Film als Verbrechen? (2001), which went on to win many German and international film and television awards. Currently, Lang works as department editor, author and director at Germany's SWR television network.

Filmography
  • 2018 – Mackie Messer: Brechts Dreigroschenfilm
  • 2013 – George (documentary)
  • 2011 – Da, wo ich bin, ist Panama - Die Lebensreise des Herrn Janosch (documentary)
  • 2006 – Brecht - Die Kunst zu leben (documentary)
  • 1997 – Un siècle d'écrivains : Bertolt Brecht (1 episode of the documentary TV series)