Blu-ray, DVD Release: Baal

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: March 20, 2018
Price: DVD $20.97, Blu-ray $27.99
Studio: Criterion

Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) transported Bertolt Brecht’s 1918 debut play Baal to contemporary West Germany for this vicious 1970 experiment in foreign film adaptation, seldom seen for nearly half a century.

Oozing with brutish charisma, Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Fox and His Friends) 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 (Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen), the drama Baal demonstrates the uncompromising nature of Schlöndorff’s vision and forged a path for New German Cinema.

Presented in German with English subtitles, Baal‘s Blu-ray and DVD editions include the following:

* 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

Buy or Rent Baal

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.