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98 Ratings


Directed by Volker Schlöndorff
West Germany, 1970
Drama, TV Movie, Avant-Garde


The film follows Baal, a young, ingenious, and unstable poet-balladeer with a scandalous zest for life, love, and liquor, through multiple sexual encounters and cruel, shocking personal adventures that end with his premature death.

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Baal Directed by Volker Schlöndorff

Critics reviews

Even though Baal becomes at times tiresome and rigid, Schlöndorff’s adaptation is worthwhile enough if for nothing else, to see R.W.F./Baal conjoined, to see his chewed-up oatmeal face speak Brecht’s text, to see his body express this treacherous lust, this poetic yearning.
February 15, 2014
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Baal is so endlessly fascinating as a document of its time, a record of an almost lost Fassbinder performance, a missing piece of New German Cinema history and a window onto Schlöndorff’s evolution as a director that it’s difficult to see the film itself through all that context… What Schlöndorff could do quite well was make the most of very little…
February 07, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Baal

    Everyone around here is so depressed lately. It is really starting to get to me. "Nothing is understood, but some things are felt."

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Baal

    The core of New German Cinema in terms of celebrating a creative genius at the outskirts of society, defiant of conventional morality and unmoored from partnerships or intimate relationships. Being the object of contempt, the wanderer Baal (Fassbinder is perfect for the role) is presented in short episodes punctuated by vociferous prose and out of focus edges in the frames that create a hyperreal life (and death).

  • FilmEdie's rating of the film Baal

    Long lost relic from a post-'68 exploration of possibility; Form in the service of the work, and not the other way round. It had me instantly. How crazy is it that Schlondorff hadn't even heard of Fassbinder when he first decided to film the play? Just happened across his Anti-Theatre (& Baal incarnate!)... And then for the film to resurface after being blacklisted by the Brecht estate so long? Wild. I love it all.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Baal

    The Poet as an agitator, an immoral and amoral man. The musical ballads reminds us of François Villon's poems. It's a treat to see Fassbinder, Von Trotta and Schygulla before their international recognition. Recommended to movie lovers.

  • Jason's rating of the film Baal

    You are not going to find a film that comes off more as a time capsule than does Schlöndorff's BAAL, seeing as it was literally buried for 40-some-odd years and considering it brilliantly channels young Brecht's practically anarchist vision into the post-'68 zone of schism and ennui. And Fassbinder as Baal: what can you say? The legend crystallized right there good and early: nitro! pure Dionysian Apocalypse!

  • msmichel's rating of the film Baal

    FNC '14 Originally made for German television in 1969 this early work from Schlondorff has been rescued and is much more than just a curiosity piece. Fassbinder plays Baal; poet, misogynist, drunk, man of the people, womanizer. He plays an unredeemable character whose charisma and magnetism draw both men and women to him often with disastrous results. A fascinating showpiece for the 'new German cinema' of the time.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film Baal

    Qui a eu la chance de lire ou de voir la sublime (première) pièce écrite par Bertolt Brecht ne peut que ressortir amèrement déçu de la projection de cette œuvre cacophonique, brouillonne et atone qui dénature profondément la subtile violence et la troublante sensualité présentes en permanence dans le continuum du texte original.

  • Adam GR's rating of the film Baal

    "Chewed-up oatmeal face"??????? MUBI I NEVER. I honestly can't even write a review now. Oh my god, I want to talk about the cinematography, poetry, and chewed-up oatmeal face of the burgeoning and imploding antiteater, but I can't anymore.

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