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The Merchant of Four Seasons
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder • 1971 • Germany
Starring Hans Hirschmüller, Irm Hermann, Gusti Kreissl
New German Cinema icon Rainer Werner Fassbinder kicked off a new phase of his young career when he made the startling THE MERCHANT OF FOUR SEASONS. In this anguished yet mordantly funny film, Fassbinder charts the decline of a self-destructive former policeman and war veteran struggling to make ends meet for his family by working as a fruit vendor. Fassbinder had gained acclaim for a series of trenchant, quickly made early films, but for this one he took more time and forged a new style—featuring a more complexly woven script and narrative structure and more sophisticated use of the camera, and influenced by the work of his recently discovered idol, Douglas Sirk. The result is a meticulously made, unforgiving social satire.