Christian Beetz producing Reeperbahn Special Unit 65
by Teresa Vena
- The prime-time documentary series about the famous red-light district in Hamburg uses the police’s perspective to depict organised crime in Germany in the 1980s
Christian Beetz is an experienced German director and producer whose focus is on documentary features and series. His latest production, Rohwedder, about the assassination of Detlev Rohwedder in 1991 in Düsseldorf, has been released on Netflix. Now, with Reeperbahn Special Unit 65, Beetz once again turns his attention to specific local events related to recent German history. From the perspective of the members of Special Unit 65, which is composed of policemen and policewomen, the series depicts the happenings and dynamics in the red-light district of St Pauli in Hamburg in the 1980s.
The series intends to break with the romantic notion of pimps being these cool, strong or mysterious figures. Indeed, the heroes of the show are the men and women of the special unit. In the 1980s, cocaine was a new drug and contributed to the escalation of organised crime. The special unit’s mission was to keep the emerging turf wars under control. Even though the focus is on this particular district of Hamburg, Reeperbahn Special Unit 65 will also offer more universal insights into topics prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s, such as the impact of drug cartels and AIDS.
In its aesthetics and form, the series is similar to a US cop show. The showrunners and directors of the first season, which consists of five episodes, each 45 minutes long, are the trio Georg Tschurtschenthaler (The Cleaners [+see also:
film profile], Viral [+see also:
film profile]), Ina Kessebohm and Carsten Gutschmidt. Particular prominence is given to the use of archive material, as it is mainly through such footage that the stories are told. Newly shot and re-enacted scenes will complement this other material.
Reeperbahn Special Unit 65 is the first high-end documentary series to be supported by the German Motion Picture Fund. It is a production by Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion in collaboration with public TV channel NDR. It will be ready to air on this and other TV channels later this year.
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