Ernö Metzner, the art director for G. W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box (1928), himself co-wrote (along with Grace Chiang) and directed Police Report: Assault. Although the film’s protagonist is a coin, I will refer to the pop-...展开eyed man who picks it up off the street as the protagonist; but when the police at the last ask him to identify whoever assaulted him and he imagines the coin spinning in space, we the audience know what he blames.
Metzner’s middling short film, set in Berlin, depicts desperate, impoverished lives in Weimar Germany. It would seem that the protagonist’s luck has picked up once he finds the coin by the curb that we know many other passers-by missed; but we also know that the coin’s previous owner collapsed before losing it to the street. Indeed, once he tries buying cigarettes with it, the protagonist discovers that the coin, as currency, is obsolete. What to do? The man slips it into a game of dice and wins. However, he is pursued through the street by someone else who is financially desperate, and who is toting a club. Two more stressed persons, a thin-lipped prostitute and her pimp, first, provide protection for the protagonist and then danger, once they also try to rob him. It is his original stalker, though, who gives the protagonist a whack across the noggin that causes his head, at the launch of an expressionistic passage, to stretch itself into distorted mirror-images.