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 himself cast out from bourgeois society 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 of Fassbinder’s troupe of theater actors as well as Margarethe von Trotta, Baal demonstrates the uncompromising nature of Schlöndorff’s vision and forged a path for New German Cinema.
.New, restored 2K digital transfer, 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
.An essay by critic Dennis Lim