The Merchant of Four Seasons

"Very Good"

The Merchant of Four Seasons Review


Fassbinder's meditation on urban malaise is about as grim and hopeless as anything I've seen. Think American Beauty without the irony and relocated to a nondescript city in Germany.

The story follows Hans (Hans Hirschmüller), a fruit merchant who, with his taller and vaguely oppressive wife (Irm Hermann), lives a static and uninteresting life hawking plums and tomatoes from a cart. He hires a salesman but he cheats him. His woman won't even let him have an affair -- even though she's sleeping with the help. Eventually Hans tunes life out altogether, and at a grand family dinner, downs a few dozen shots of liquor, which promptly kills him on the spot.

Bleak to the point of near-terror, this small film is hardly for all tastes, but it's vintage Fassbinder, filled with motifs about the evils of women and the ideological perils of daily life. The acting and script are nothing special, but the film's closeness is stifling, all without resorting to a single scare tactic.

The new DVD includes a few shorts on Fassbinder, along with a commentary track from Wim Wenders (in English), which talks mainly about Fassbinder the man, and less about this specific piece of work.

Aka Der Händler der vier Jahreszeiten.



The Merchant of Four Seasons

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 4th November 1971

Production compaines: Tango Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: Hans Hirschmüller as Hans Epp, as Irmgard Epp, as Anna Epp, Hans's sister, as Renate Epp, Hans's daughter, as Harry, as Kurt, as die große Liebe, as Polizei-Vorgesetzter, Walter Sedlmayr as Karren-Verkäufer, as Kundin, as Araber, as weiterer Stammtisch-Bruder

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