Mack the Knife – Brecht's Threepenny Film

by Joachim A. Lang

Watch the master direct reality.

Against many odds, Bertolt Brecht's “The Threepenny Opera” becomes a phenomenal success. The film industry picks up the scent and seeks to make the master direct a film version of his “play with music”. Brecht though refuses to play by their rules. While the studio wants to 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. And 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 colorful and merging fact with the fictional and the visionary, Brecht's “true” Threepenny 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!

Genre / Language / Length
Drama / German / 120 minutes
Original title
Mackie Messer – Brechts Dreigroschenfilm
directed by
Joachim A. Lang
produced by
Zeitsprung Pictures in co-production with SWR, Arte and Velvet
  • Lars Eidinger (DYING, PERSIAN LESSONS)
  • Tobias Moretti (THE DARK VALLEY)
  • Hannah Herzsprung (FOUR MINUTES, THE READER)
  • Joachim Krol (RUN LOLA RUN)
  • Claudia Michelsen (MACK THE KNIFE, THE TOWER)
  • Britta Hammelstein
  • Robert Stadlober (CRAZY, SUMMER STORM, DAS BOOT)
  • Peri Baumeister
  • Christian Redl

Press Quotes

"This excellent film is a think piece, a portrayal of the times, and a musical all in one.