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A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

Sunday, November 11, 1979
4:45 p.m.
8:00 p.m.
The Merchant of the Four Seasons (Handler Der Vier Jahreszeiten)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1971)

This was Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s eleventh feature, and it was this film that opened many eyes to the arrival of a major new talent in world cinema. Like the earlier Why Did Herr R. Run Amok? the film deals with the stultifying boredom and alienation of bourgeois family life. As Fassbinder himself has stated: “it’s a story that almost everyone I know has lived himself. A man wishes that he had made something of his life that he never did. His education, his environment, his circumstances don’t admit the fulfillment of his dream.” In selecting Fassbinder as one of the “Directors of the Year,” the “1976 International Film Guide” noted that “in this story of an unassuming little fruit seller, oppressed by the women in his life and finally drinking his way to oblivion while his family babbles unconcernedly around him, Fassbinder gets closer to a direct involvement with his characters than in any of his previous films.”

• Written and Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Produced by Tango Film with ZDF/Das Kleine Fernsehspiel. Photographed by Dietrich Lohmann. Art Direction by Kurt Raab. ZDF Production Executive, Eckart Stein. With Hanna Schygulla, Hans Hirschmuller, Irm Herrmann, Kurt Raab. (1971, 88 mins, 35mm, color, English titles, Print from New Yorker Films)