Baal : Summary

Length: 84 Min. Format: 16mm Colour

First broadcast: 07.01.1970, HR 3

An adaptation of Bertold Brechts first stage play written in 1918 at the age of 20 as his reaction to a drama by Hanns Johst on the life of the poet Grabbe.

Schlöndorff’s production – with the late Rainer Werner Fassbinder as Baal - is an attempt to find a form of representation between the category of film and TV play which would better suited to the possibilities of the medium of television.

“The film was given a prime time slot on Channel 1 – something unthinkable nowadays – and led to a storm of indignation. The station was flooded with letters. The viewers (who didn't read Brecht and mistook the film for a documentary) demanded that Rainer Werner Fassbinder should be ‘hung’, ‘beaten’ and ‘thrown into a vat of boiling oil.’”