- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 50 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: June 7, 2011
- Originally Released: 1976
- Label: Olive Films
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - German
- Subtitles - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
New York Times - 04/15/1994
"...Sadly compelling....A merciless view of bourgeois German society in the feverish grip of capitalism..."
Los Angeles Times - 06/02/1994
"...Fassbinder draws from his cast, in particular Zeplichal and Berle the remarkably complete and selfless portrayals that are his trademark..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 12/08/1995
"...Fassbinder creates a fairy tale about a monstrously dysfunctional family....[Zeplichal gives] a harrowing performance..."
Total Film - 06/01/2012
4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his is a unique blend of emotional frankness, Loach-style social insight and brutal fates straight out of a Thomas Hardy novel."
Having grown up in a small town with a father who never believed in his worth, a man moves to the city and starts anew. However, when the pressures of work, family and finances become too great he snaps and goes on a rampage, killing an innocent person. Another psychological tale of woe from director Fassbinder. Adapted from the true-crime story "Life Sentence."
A child raised in a cold, loveless family marries and leaves his hometown for the big city. His father, as always, cruelly undercuts his confidence, telling him he'll never earn enough money to support a family. The young man does manage to hold down a construction job, however, and works hard at first. But slowly the pressures and anxieties of life begin to tear at him. As he tries to keep up with the Joneses and prove his parents' predictions wrong, he sinks deeper into debt, overextending his finances with the purchase of each "essential" new product.
Eventually, he stops showing up at work, preferring instead to spend his days wandering the city alone. Then, one day, he steps into a bar, and all his rage, confusion, and loathing erupt in an act of pointless violence...
Fassbinder examines the emotional dynamics of family life, the futility of consumerism, and existential despair in this searing work about a man destroyed first by his parents' rejection and then by the cruel demands of a world that never understood him.