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The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant
The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant
Actors: Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, Katrin Schaake, Eva Mattes, Gisela Fackeldey
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2002     2hr 4min

Studio: Genius Products Inc Release Date: 06/19/2007 Run time: 124 minutes Rating: Nr


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Movie Details

Actors: Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, Katrin Schaake, Eva Mattes, Gisela Fackeldey
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Creators: Michael Ballhaus, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Thea Eymèsz, Michael Fengler
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Fox Lorber
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/29/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1970
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 2hr 4min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: German
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Excellent DVD also incl. both Fassbinder short films
J. Clark | metro New York City | 01/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), one of Fassbinder's masterpieces, explores the tortured connections between desire and power. Not only is the DVD of exceptional quality, it includes both of Fassbinder's fascinating short films ("The City Tramp" and "The Little Chaos") plus a revealing documentary.Although Bitter Tears remains one of Fassbinder's most controversial films - in part for its severely limited depiction of women's lives - it is also one of his most powerful. Fortunately, the range of lesbian-themed films in the past thirty years has presented women's experiences in considerably more diversity and fullness, so perhaps now we can better evaluate the film's considerable merits.Fassbinder's casts are always uniformly strong, but this one is extraordinary, especially Margit Carstensen in the title role (she won several awards), Hanna Schygulla (with whom Fassbinder made 20 pictures) as her new lover Karin Thimm, and Irm Herrman as Petra's mysterious assistant Marlene who, without uttering one word, at times dominates with her sheer presence.The film is astonishing for its interweaving of raw emotion with stunning and meticulous design. Fassbinder and director of photography Michael Ballhaus (who shot about half of the director's films, and now does all of Scorsese's pictures) wrest every bit of visual interest from the single claustrophobic set (we never leave this one apartment). The endlessly inventive deep focus compositions provide a series of emotionally penetrating, and technically virtuosic, comments on the action - ironic, allusive, symbolic, and visually gorgeous. The only picture which approaches this level of achievement - in making limited physical space utterly compelling as cinema - is Cocteau's Les Parents Terribles (1948), but he had all of two sets!Fassbinder also makes acerbic use of every carefully placed object in the lavish apartment. Most notable is a gigantic blowup of Poussin's painting "Midas and Bacchus," which reminds us that Petra - like Midas, whose life was blasted by the "golden touch" - should be careful what she wishes for. The nude Bacchus stands in the center of the mural - and not infrequently Fassbinder's compositions - with the body of, well, a Greek god, a larger-than-life male in a film peopled entirely with women. Some critics argue that this overbearing backdrop represents the patriarchal system which underlies, and perhaps even dooms, the relationship of Petra and Karin. Fassbinder includes many other witty, even playful, elements throughout the film, both to give it greater resonance, and to keep it from descending into bathos. For instance, dramatic form has rarely been so drolly encapsulated as when Petra changes into a new wig - "symbolically" indicating her emotional state - in each of the film's five scenes (each unfolds in continuous time).Although it would be unfair to reveal the ending, a tentatively optimistic reading may be possible: For one character it revolves around a newfound self-respect, for another because she has, for the first time, genuinely reached out to someone else. The film is so rich, on so many levels, that you may find yourself seeing it differently on each viewing. Few works so creatively, and powerfully, manage to subvert our desire for cathartic drama while simultaneously fulfilling it.FASSBINDER'S SHORT FILMS ARE ALSO INCLUDED on this DVD. Both were made in 1966, when he was 19. "The City Tramp," about a homeless man who finds a gun, is a work of extraordinary, stark visual design and intriguing commentative sound (street noise juxtaposed with classical music juxtaposed with silence). It boasts excellent performances, with Fassbinder raising it far above the level of a "vanity piece" for financial backer cum star Christoph Roser. It also introduces several of the filmmaker's recurring themes, including alienation, the role of the outsider, exploitation, and violence, while its sporadic playfulness highlights another vital, and fun, aspect of his work. "The Little Chaos" is about three friends who use their knowledge of American crime movies (and Godard's 1964 film Band of Outsiders) to rob a woman. Although not as visually striking or emotionally rich as "City Tramp," it features first-rate performances and has a refreshing exuberance. The DVD also includes "Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1977," an engrossing half-hour documentary."
Lesbo-a-Go-Go, Fassbinder Style!
J. Clark | 06/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Boy, oh, boy! The crankiest lesbians you'd ever want to see just talking and fighting, talking and drinking, talking and dancing to the Platters! I can't think of a better way to spend two hours. This one's amazing. Perhaps the ultimate Fassbinder: excruciating for many, sheer heaven for a lucky few. When brittle but oh-so-vulnerable Petra, wearing her bizarre Wagneresque 'gown' with the glittery pretzel-shaped decolletage, puts "In My Room" on the phonograph and starts bitching to gorgeous, scheming Karin about her first marriage, it'll send you into the stratosphere. Kinky, trashily hilarious, profound and political -- what more could you possibly want in a movie?"
Fassbinder's take on a Mankiewicz classic, All About Eve
Beverly Campbell | chicago, illinois USA | 02/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Considerable journalism and scholarship has been devoted to Fassbinder's admiration for works of Danish-born film director Douglas Sirk. However Fassbinder did, in fact, loosely borrow from many melodramatic texts, Mildred Pierce for The Marriage of Maria Braun, Sunset Blvd. for Veronica Voss, both in the BRD Trilogy, and in the case of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, from Joseph's Mankiewicz's All About Eve.In the audio commentary, popular arts critic Jane Shattuc makes reference to Fassbinder's theatrical renderings in the film, Petra's couture costumes, tightly framed background shots of the Poussin painting in Petra's apartment, and use of lighting, all of which provide the viewers with every bit of intimacy as a performance on stage.Obviously his own background and training in theater was one source of inspiration for the film. But certainly another was his fascination with Hollywood melodrama, and specifically in this instance, Joseph Mankiewicz's characteriztion of Broadway legend Margo Channing and her idol Eve Harrington in All About Eve.While same class consciousness dyanamics are evident in both films, so are elements of lesbianism and bi-sexuality. Only in the case of Fassbinder the class differences between Petra, her appentice, and the Hanna Schgulla character become stark and more exaggerated. As for sexual oreintation, what's implied in All About Eve is more evident in Petra von Kant and worthy of a enough consideration to do a doctorial dissertation on the subject.i love this film because it provides the most vivid and detailed characterizations of female intentions, wants, and desires of any other film in the Fassbinder canon, including the female characters in the BRD Trilogy or Berlin Alexanderplatz."
Mannequins and Mirrors
Shaun Anderson | Nottingham/Hereford, England, UK | 09/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

Fassbinder's impressive psychoanalytical exploration of oppression both sexual and emotional between the genders (told entirely with dialogue) and the oppression between the same genders is a complex affair. To counter the depth and range of emotions and conflicting feelings, Fassbinder uses a very direct and simplistic filmic approach. The film is shot almost entirely in one room and he uses a large number of medium static shots, sometimes lasting as long as five minutes without a cut - this illustrates both Fassbinder's economic working style and acts as a visual juxtaposition to the complexities on screen. The essential dilemma the characters wrestle with, is who wields the power in a relationship. Fassbinder takes the position that the one who loves and shows it, is the weaker. Wonderfully 70's with colourful costumes and an above average mise-en-scene for Fassbinder, this is an effective exploration of the moral maze and conflict with any relationship, be it between men and women or the same sex."