Bruce Berman

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 224

[The Merchant of the Four Seasons] is a complex, depressingly moving tale that, when it is not steeped in the deliberateness of its development and representation of emotional and environmental vacuity, sheds much-needed light on the ill-effects of the petit-bourgeois mentality, in this case "mentality" as manifested by Hans Epp and his severely entrenched family. (p. 39)

Illustration of PDF document

Download Rainer Werner Fassbinder Study Guide

Subscribe Now

In terms of method, The Merchant of the Four Seasons, which was made initially for German television, retains a washedout colour and a starkness of imagery (omnipresent crosses, gilt-edged picture-frames on barren walls, etc.), that despite their obvious thematic contributions render the visual terrain not very screen-worthy on one level, although revealing and certainly relevant to the depiction of Fassbinder's vision of a perverted lower-middle class. Stylistically, Fassbinder's work here can be likened to Godard's favourable middle period…. The scene staged at the film's end where, almost predictably, Hans' funeral takes place on a brilliant spring morning with birds singing and sun glowing, struck me as particularly Godardian in its irony. We are reminded that Hans (as we are all to varying degrees), the victim of (political) circumstance and perhaps life itself, can only cease to be a failure when he ceases to be. (pp. 39-40)

Bruce Berman, "Reviews: 'The Merchant of the Four Seasons'," in Take One (copyright © 1972 by Unicorn Publishing Corp.), Vol. 4, No. 4, November-December, 1972, pp. 39-40.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial
Previous

Introduction

Next

Christian Braad Thomsen

Explore Study Guides