Baal

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.

Film Info

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

  • New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Volker Schlöndorff, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interviews from 1973 and 2015 with Schlöndorff
  • New conversation between actor Ethan Hawke and playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman about the play and adaptation
  • New interview with actor and filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta
  • New interview with film historian Eric Rentschler
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Dennis Lim

New cover by Rainer Fetting

Purchase Options

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

  • New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Volker Schlöndorff, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interviews from 1973 and 2015 with Schlöndorff
  • New conversation between actor Ethan Hawke and playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman about the play and adaptation
  • New interview with actor and filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta
  • New interview with film historian Eric Rentschler
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Dennis Lim

New cover by Rainer Fetting

Baal
Cast
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Baal
Sigi Graue
Ekart
Margarethe von Trotta
Sophie
Günther Neutze
Mech
Miriam Spoerri
Emilie
Irmgard Paulis
Johanna
Marian Seidowsky
Johannes
Credits
Director
Volker Schlöndorff
Produced by
Hellmut Haffner
Produced by
Hans Prescher
Produced by
Volker Schlöndorff
Play by
Bertolt Brecht
Teleplay by
Volker Schlöndorff
Cinematography by
Dietrich Lohmann
Production design by
Hanna Axmann
Edited by
Peter Ettengruber
Music by
Klaus Doldinger

From The Current

Fassbinder’s Anarchic Spin on a Classic Brecht Role
Fassbinder’s Anarchic Spin on a Classic Brecht Role

New German Cinema filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta shares her memories of working with Rainer Werner Fassbinder on the set of Volker Schlöndorf’s 1970 film Baal.

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Mar 27, 2018
Ethan Hawke and Jonathan Marc Sherman’s Closet Picks
Ethan Hawke and Jonathan Marc Sherman’s Closet Picks

Longtime friends and collaborators Ethan Hawke and Jonathan Marc Sherman stopped by the office to contribute to our new edition of Baal—and have some fun in the closet.

Inside Criterion / Closet Picks — Mar 21, 2018
Baal: The Nature of the Beast
Baal: The Nature of the Beast

The careers of three iconic German artists—Bertolt Brecht, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Volker Schlöndorff—converged in this unflinching portrait of destructive genius.

By Dennis Lim

On Film / Essays — Mar 20, 2018