Set in West Germany in the years following the Second World War, The Merchant of Four Seasons follows Hans Epp (Hans Hirschmüller), who returns home after serving in the French Foreign Legion to a family and society with which he feels deeply at odds. Hans and his wife Irmgard (Irm Hermann) run a modest fruit stand, but when Hans suffers a serious heart attack, his wife must tend to the business alone. As the events of their lives become progressively more cataclysmic, Hans is haunted by the memories of his troubled duty in the Legion. At once recalling the raw frankness of John Cassavetes and the severe austerity of Robert Bresson, Fassbinder presents the devastating events of its characters’ lives through unspectacular imagery. He cares deeply for the figures that inhabit his films, but he is never moralizing, never asking them to be anything other than what they are. The Merchant of Four Seasons cemented its director’s international reputation as one of the most gifted auteurs of his generation. Fassbinder was only 27 when he made this remarkable film, ten years before his untimely death.