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Baal
dir. Volker Schlöndorff / West Germany 1970 / 87’
subtitles: Polish and English

Cast

Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Sigi Graue, Margarethe von Trotta, Günther Neutze

Film description

Sturm und Drang! Baal is a youthful work by filmmakers from the school of New German Cinema: director Volker Schlöndorff and, in the case of this film, actors Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Margarethe von Trotty. It is also an adaptation of the first work by Bertolt Brecht, which he wrote at the age of 20. The title character (played by an ostentatiously slovenly Fassbinder immersed in a trance) is a poet and a rebel. Dressed in a leather jacket, breathing out cigarette smoke, and increasingly drunk with each subsequent shot, he gradually burns out in his own flame. He travels through cities, villages, and forests, escaping civilization and beating a path to self-destruction. His story is divided up into 24 episodes that explode with the force of punk songs. First broadcast on German television, the film was unavailable to the public for more than four decades, as its distribution was blocked by Brecht’s heirs. It re-premiered at this year’s Berlinale.

Piotr Mirski

Information about director

Volker Schlöndorff

Born in 1939, Volker Schlöndorff was, along with Werner Herzog and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, among others, a member of a movement of young filmmakers who resuscitated postwar German cinema and proceeded to make it famous. He is best known for his adaptations of prose works: Robert Musil’s Young Torless, Heinrich Böll’s The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum,and Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum. He won an Oscar and a Palme d’Or for his screen adaptation of The Tin Drum.

Selected filmography

1966 Niepokoje wychowanka Törlessa / Der junge Törless / Young Torless

1970 Baal (TV)

1975 Utracona cześć Katarzyny Blum / Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum / The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (co-dir.)

1979 Blaszany bębenek / Die Blechtrommel / The Tin Drum

Cast & Crew

director: Volker Schlöndorff
screenplay: Volker Schlöndorff
cinematography: Dietrich Lohmann
editing: Peter Ettengruber
music: Klaus Doldinger
cast: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Sigi Graue, Margarethe von Trotta, Günther Neutze
producer: Hellmut Haffner, Hans Prescher, Volker Schlöndorff
production: Hessischer Rundfunk, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Hallelujah Film
sales: Les Films du Losange
language: German
colouration: colour
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