Poster for The Merchant of Four Seasons

The Merchant of Four Seasons

1971, Drama, 1h 28m

16 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

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Movie Info

Hans (Hans Hirschmuller) is a lifelong member of the middle-class. His family, especially his wife, Irmgard (Irm Hermann), derides him for his lack of ambition and his chosen profession: running a fruit stand. Eventually, the constant ridicule drives him to alcoholism, and his bout with the bottle lands him in the hospital. While recovering, he hires extra help and watches his business boom. However, his success doesn't alleviate his pain, and his anger and drinking slowly destroy him.

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Critic Reviews for The Merchant of Four Seasons

Audience Reviews for The Merchant of Four Seasons

  • Apr 16, 2016
    Fassbinder stops experimenting and goes back to storytelling, and the film is all the better for it.
    Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2014
    "The Merchant of Four Seasons" is a grim portrait of a troubled fruit seller. Scarred by an unloving mother and unrewarding stints in the Foreign Legion and the police, he struggles to keep his modest business afloat while enduring a loveless marriage in which both partners are unfaithful. He drinks too much and beats his wife, but his self-loathing becomes wholly unmanageable after he suffers a heart attack and can't work anymore. He hires others to peddle his stock, but they only make his masculinity feel more threatened. "Merchant" is actually easier to watch than many Fassbinder films. Its scenes are shot in brightly lit interiors, and there is no murky musical score to endure (in fact, there's no score at all). The cast is loaded with good faces to study, and a splash of full frontal nudity (alas, the luminous Hanna Schygulla stays dressed) will tickle the audience's libido.
    Super Reviewer
  • Aug 06, 2013
    A turning point in Fassbinder's career with the consolidation of his style as a storyteller; a film in which he explores emotional tragedy using a theatrical frame (the acting, mise-en-scène, the distinct palette of colors) to make a striking commentary on the petit bourgeois mentality.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 15, 2006
    [font=Century Gothic]In "The Merchant of Four Seasons", Hans Epp(Hans Hirschmuller), an ex-soldier and former policeman, is now a fruit vendor along with his wife, Irmgard(Irm Hermann). After one particular argument between the couple, Hans goes off to get drunk. The couple argues again after he is late coming home which is followed by Hans beating Irmgard. When he wakes up in the morning, he finds Irmgard and their daughter Renate(Andrea Schober) gone. They fled to his mother's apartment where he soon locates them. When Irmgard calls her lawyer to rightfully ask for a divorce, Hans collapses with a heart attack.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"The Merchant of Four Seasons" is an effective look at how society looks down on laborers and the work they do. It also brings up important questions about what constitutes a success. But it is impossible to have sympathy for any man who beats his wife, a truly unforgivable act.[/font]
    Super Reviewer

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