1 Berlin-Harlem

Recommended for adults only


Conrad Jennings, Sabine Buschmann, Brigitte Mira, Ingrid Caven, Peter Chatel, Rainer Werner Fassbinder,

One of the final projects Skip Norman contributed to in Germany before his return to the United States was also among the most notable, working as the director of photography alongside Reza Dabui for the underground feature 1 Berlin-Harlem. Written and directed by German filmmakers Lothar Lambert and Wolfram Zobus, this subversive, prickly satire features cameos and small roles by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and members of his regular coterie—including Ingrid Caven and Brigitte Mira.

The plot begins as Black American GI John (played by actual army man Conrad Jennings) completes his service, whereupon attempts to settle into a professional life in Berlin with his white German partner are shortly frustrated by racist aggressions both subtle and overt. What follows is a drift through the fringes of the city’s outsider subcultures—including queer cruising spots and Berlin’s Black Panther Solidarity Committee—in which fleeting moments of tenderness and sincerity prove less common than crass fetishization and brazen bigotry. Echoing the pointed critique of race relations of Norman’s earlier Blues People1 Berlin-Harlem offers a complex portrayal of social alienation and abuse, as well as the internalization and eventual response to such violence.

  • Lothar Lambert
  • Wolfram Zobus
  • Skip Norman
  • Reza Dabui
  • English
  • German
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • 100 mins
  • Deutsche Kinemathek

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