Rainer Werner Fassbinder

The Merchant of Four Seasons

The Merchant of Four Seasons

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.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring filmmaker Wim Wenders
  • New interviews with actors Irm Hermann and Hans Hirschmüller
  • New interview with film scholar Eric Rentschler
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Thomas Elsaesser

New cover by David Plunkert

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring filmmaker Wim Wenders
  • New interviews with actors Irm Hermann and Hans Hirschmüller
  • New interview with film scholar Eric Rentschler
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Thomas Elsaesser

New cover by David Plunkert

The Merchant of Four Seasons
Cast
Hans Hirschmüller
Hans Epp
Irm Hermann
Irmgard Epp
Gusti Kreissl
Mother Epp
Hanna Schygulla
Anna Epp, Hans's sister
Heide Simon
Second sister
Kurt Raab
Kurt
Klaus Löwitsch
Harry Radek
Karl Scheydt
Anzell
Ingrid Caven
The merchant's great love
Peter Chatel
Doctor
Lilo Pempeit
Customer
Walter Sedlmayr
Fruit cart seller
El Hedi ben Salem
Arab
Hark Bohm
Policeman
Daniel Schmid
Three applicants
Harry Baer
Marian Seidowsky
Michael Fengler
Playboy
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Zucker
Elga Sorbas
Marile Kosemund
Sigi Graue
Man in the pub
Credits
Director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Screenplay
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Director of photography
Dietrich Lohmann
Music
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Editor
Thea Eymèsz
Art direction
Kurt Raab

From The Current

Eric Rentschler on The Merchant of Four Seasons
Eric Rentschler on The Merchant of Four Seasons

We sat down with the eminent German cinema scholar Eric Rentschler for a new interview about The Merchant of Four Seasons, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s first Douglas Sirk–inspired film. In this excerpt, Rentschler describes the major turning point …

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The Merchant of Four Seasons: Downward Mobility in Munich
The Merchant of Four Seasons: Downward Mobility in Munich

A legionnaire turned fruit seller misses out on Germany’s economic miracle in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s breakthrough melodrama.

By Thomas Elsaesser

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Bitter Harvest
Bitter Harvest

Rainer Werner Fassbinder stocked the cast of The Merchant of Four Seasons with friends and colleagues from his experimental theater days.

By Chuck Stephens

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Explore

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Writer, Actor, Director

Rainer Werner Fassbinder made an astonishing forty-four movies—theatrical features, television movies and miniseries, and shorts among them—in a career that spanned a mere sixteen years, ending with his death at thirty-seven in 1982. He is perhaps remembered best for his intense and exquisitely shabby social melodramas (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul)—heavily influenced by Hollywood films, especially the female-driven tearjerkers of Douglas Sirk, and featuring misfit characters that often reflected his own fluid sexuality and self-destructive tendencies. But his body of work runs the gamut from epic period pieces (Berlin Alexanderplatz, the BRD Trilogy) to dystopic science fiction (World on a Wire) as well. One particular fascination of Fassbinder’s was the way the ghosts of the past, specifically those of World War II, haunted contemporary German life—an interest that wedded him to many of the other artists of the New German Cinema movement, which began in the late 1960s.