Baal 1970 Criterion Collection
Made for German television in 1970, Volker Schlondorff's adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Baal transports the 1918 play to (then) modern day, providing filmmaking wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder with an impressive showcase for his acting skills, but ultimately failing in making the work feel vital to the times. In fact, Brecht’s widow was so unhappy with it, the family estate placed a ban on the release that was not lifted until four decades later.

Brecht's protagonist, Baal (named after an ancient god of fertility and weather, with an emphasis on storms), is a young poet who is feted by the bourgeoisie for whom he displays open contempt. He fucks and insults his way through the world on a path of destruction and self-destruction, his crude, egotistical, libidinous persona apparently irrelevant to the beauty of his art (which he prefers to recite to drunken workers in low bars rather than enshrine in a book financed by a wealthy patron).

Director: Volker Schlondorff
Cast: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Sigi Graue, Margarethe von Trotta
Country: West Germany
Genre: Drama

BD50 + DVD9 | 1080i AVC, NTSC 4:3 | 01:24:06 | 45.5 Gb + 7.37 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Deutsch
Subtitles: English

• Interviews from 1973 and 2015 with Schlondorff (4:57 and 48:07)
• New conversation between actor Ethan Hawke and playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman about the play and adaptation (16:20)
• New interview with actor and filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta (12:01)
• New interview with film historian Eric Rentschler (17:26)