Hans Epp (Hans Hirschmüller), ex-foreign legionnaire and ex-cop, works the courtyards with his fruit cart. Much has gone wrong in his life. He never managed to live up to his mother’s expectations, he was not allowed to marry his big love (Ingrid Caven) due to class differences. He drinks and beats his wife (Irm Hermann), who lives at his side without any love and who takes care of the child and the household. One day Hans Epp suffers a heart attack. After recovery he signs on Harry (Klaus Löwitsch), an old comrade from the foreign legion, as his employee. The produce trade begins to bloom. But Hans gets increasingly depressed. He cannot deal with the cold egoism that rules the world and that surrounds him. Even his sister (Hanna Schygulla), the only person who loves him, is unable to diminish the pressure that burdens him. In the presence of his wife, he drinks himself to death in his regular hangout. After the funeral, the widow and Harry get together. —Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
Rainer Werner Fassbinder (May 31, 1945 – June 10, 1982) was born into a cultured bourgeois family in the small Bavarian spa town Bad Wörishofen. Raised by his mother as an only child, the boy had only sporadic contact with his father, a doctor, after the divorce of his parents when he was five. Educated at a Rudolf Steiner elementary school and subsequently in Munich and Augsburg, the city of Bert Brecht, he left school before passing any final examinations. A cinema addict (“five times a week, often three films a day”) from a very early age, not least because his mother needed peace and quiet for her work as a translator, “the cinema was the family life I never had at home.”
Fassbinder made his first short films at the age of twenty, persuading a male lover to finance them in exchange for leading roles. He also applied for a place at the Berlin Film School (dffb), but was refused. He acted in both his early films: DER STADTSTREICHER (The City Tramp), which also featured Irm… read more
Widely considered to be one of his greatest melodramas, this film was a turning point in Fassbinder's career and marked his entry into the international film arena after two years of prolific activity in his native Germany. Several of Fassbinder's regular stock company of actors appear in the deeply moving story of a fruit seller whose lowly status costs him the woman he loves and leads to a life of quiet despair....
I found this to be a wonderfully depressing film. The sudden, extreme close ups really worked in projecting the emotions and concerns of the film's characters. In that respect it reminded me of Bergman's work, especially Scenes from a Marriage. Hanna Schygulla's presence is always welcome to me.
A great Fassbinder film. I really prefer this line of his work rather than the last films he did (with the exception of Berlin Alexanderplatz). Maybe I should watch them again and perhaps I'll change my mind. But for the time beign I will remain closer to Love is colder than death, Mama kusters, I only want you to love me, and Fox , just to name a few. This one goes to that list.