In one of Fassbinder’s pivotal works and greatest achievements, ineffectual ex-policeman Hans Epp, newly home from the war and greeted with chilling contempt by his domineering mother, continues to disappoint his bourgeois family by becoming a lowly fruit peddler. Drinking himself into a stupor and casually abusing his wife (Irm Hermann) to alleviate the boredom, Hans (Hans Hirschmüller, in a quietly shattering performance) one day suffers a heart attack. With the hiring of an old friend, his business miraculously begins to flourish. But success proves even more crushing than failure. A devastating social satire set in Munich during the “prosperous ’50s,” this was the first film Fassbinder made after meeting, and absorbing the influence of, Douglas Sirk, and also the one that cemented his place as the conscience of the New German Cinema—a filmmaker who insisted on showing what his countrymen failed to see or refused to remember.