Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (The Merchant of Four Seasons) (1971)
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as Hans Epp
as Irmgard Epp
as First sister
as The merchant's great love
as The Arab
as Marile Kosemund
as Fruit cart salesman
Critic Reviews for Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (The Merchant of Four Seasons)
This soggy picture allows the disintegration of a human being to be almost as dull as the way he earns his living -- and that is appalling.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder has a genius for detailing the pain of suppressed emotional states, and even at its most achingly deliberate, his style in dealing with the petit bourgeois mentality is a source of endless fascination.
Fassbinder is going for realism, but almost a heightened, stagey version of it. This strategy makes the film more deeply felt, amplifying the awkwardness.
An unforgettable cantata, raspy and plangent, every composition attuned to circles of torment and frustration
What makes [Fassbinder's] vision so riveting, however, is its brutal honesty, brilliant theatricality, and masterly cinematic execution.
Audience Reviews for Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (The Merchant of Four Seasons)
Fassbinder stops experimenting and goes back to storytelling, and the film is all the better for it.
"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.
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.
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