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820 Ratings

The Merchant of Four Seasons

Händler der vier Jahreszeiten

West Germany, 1972


Hans is an ex-foreign legionnaire, ex-cop and a lifelong member of the middle-class. His family, especially his wife, derides him for his lack of ambition and his chosen profession: running a fruit stand. When a heart attack impedes his ability to work, his dissatisfaction turns into despair…

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The Merchant of Four Seasons Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Formally stiff and technically wobbly, The Merchant Of Four Seasons marked Fassbinder’s emergence as a punk classicist and a director of blunt gestures… Movies by young directors are expected to be jazzy, authentic, and on-trend, and The Merchant Of Four Seasons is none of those things. Like the mature work that would follow, it shuttles between serious melodrama and black comedy without ever stopping over in camp.
June 03, 2015
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Shot mostly in muted, pastel colors, with brief flashes of sumptuous red and shimmering gray, depending on the expressive tenor of a given scene, Merchant’s grim tale has a mysterious power to move the viewer almost to tears, enlisting compassion for its hero but avoiding bathos.
June 01, 2015
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This film has a freeness, a casualness, a matter-of-factness, that’s unusual for Fassbinder, despite the prodigiousness and the brilliance of the filmography to follow. Fassbinder finds in this film’s estranged fruit man an expression of his own torment—the selling of fruit having in common with filmmaking a yearning to reach out to the populace and be momentarily heard.
May 27, 2015
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