Baal • 1h 24m
Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1970 • West Germany
Volker Schlöndorff transported Bertolt Brecht's 1918 debut play to contemporary West Germany for this vicious experiment in adaptation, seldom seen for nearly half a century. Oozing with brutish charisma, Rainer Werner Fassbinder embodies the eponymous anarchist poet, who feels that bourgeois society has rejected him and sets off on a schnapps-soaked rampage. Hewing faithfully to Brecht's text, Schlöndorff juxtaposes the theatricality of the prose with bare-bones, handheld 16 mm camera work, which gives immediacy to this savage story of rebellion. Featuring a supporting cast drawn from Fassbinder's troupe of theater actors that also includes Margarethe von Trotta, BAAL demonstrates the uncompromising vision of its director, a trailblazer of the New German Cinema.
Up Next in Baal
Volker Schlöndorff on BAAL, 2015
In this 2015 interview, director Volker Schlöndorff discusses the production of BAAL and working with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and his troupe of actors.
Volker Schlöndorff on BAAL, 1973
On the occasion of BAAL’s premiere on French television on September 2, 1973, director Volker Schlöndorff recorded this discussion of his instinctual approach to developing the film, as well as its portrayal of art and Brechtian philosophy.
Margarethe von Trotta on BAAL
The following interview with filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta was conducted in Munich in December 2017.