BAAL (1969) [feature]

(MIFF 2014 )

"Forty-three years after its entombment, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's incarnation of Baal rises from the grave, as brutal, poetic and rebellious as ever." – MUBI Notebook

Mostly remembered for his short, brilliant directorial career, Rainer Werner Fassbinder also had a compelling on-screen presence. Baal, a televised adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's play, bears further testament to that fact: with its beautiful dialogue and Fassbinder's fierce, troubling performance as the violent, self-destructive poet of the title, it offers a telling insight into the young filmmaker's single-minded focus and tumultuous personal life.

Directed by Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum, MIFF 80), another luminary of New German Cinema, Baal was buried for many years following a single screening in 1970. Now, with the approval of Brecht's daughter, this film – and Fassbinder's performance – can be seen at last.

For more contextual information on the film, the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Melbourne has prepared a study guide, which you can read here.

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