All the elements of a fantastic film are contained within The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. But I couldn't deal with the melodrama or something.
A stylized, idiosyncratic and marvelous bitchfest. Fassbinder knew very that women could never be satisfied.
Based on his own play, Fassbinder's film adaptation is a sensational showcase for the acting talents of an all-female cast. Margit Carstensen is incredible as the fashion designer who falls hopelessly in love with Hanna Schygulla's model and wallows in self-pity when their affair comes to an end. In a mute role as Petra's mysterious assistant, Irm Hermann at times dominates scenes by her presence alone. I loved it...
I think it might have been a lot more suitable to put this script on a stage. It doesn really respond to what a movie should be.
This film contains very overt and evocative visual compositions that wouldn't be possible in theater (not to mention the way the vivid scenery and costumes add much to the overall aesthetic experience). The way characters fall into place in thematic and visual accordance to their environment and each other exemplifies a shrewd talent for both choreography and cinematography and I'm baffled that you don't recognize that.
Thank you sharing comments, Joe, but Í'm afraid you can't convince me. I think Fassbinder was just too lazy to adapt his script (initially written for stage) properly to a movie. Just recall the final scene - this is theatre in action not to mention that the whole movie is like that. I was sickened by all these interior scenes, not to speak that it's one and the same room the whole time. this doesn't even resemble a normal house but a stage. You speak about visual compositions and camera but this alone can't make a film. You can also document a play. There are certain aesthetic dimentions that you simply can't ignore and I don't believe the enviroment here is thematic. Dogville's enviroment is thematic, this isn't, It's work unfinished.
This film is proof that it is possible to make an entrancing work of art with only people talking in a room. There is no "action", only human emotions (or the suppression of them until the breaking point), and it's really quite something to watch. Margit Carstensen is stunning as the title character, and Irm Hermann has never been better. Probably my favorite Fassbinder film ever.
Quite possibly one of the best love-induced mental meltdowns I've seen in film. Also, Irm Hermann's prescence is felt loudly throughout the entire movie without ever having to utter a single word.
I can't tell if this is being ripped off or ripped on by Ozon's "Water Falling on Burning Rocks."
“The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” by Rainer Werner Fassbinder Is a film-intellectual stylization in which sexual exoticism and melodramatic accent serve as vehicles for Fassbinder’s elaborate analysis of today’s culturally elitist sensibility. The very style of cinematic narration reflects affectation of the film’s characters (when sincerity and pretense don’t contradict one another but unite in the art of spontaneous creativity). Fassbinder’s narrative style is semantically dense to an exceptional degree as his tool for the probing the characters’ psychology and the content and plot of the film. The film is a romantic parody, a work of art that analyzes its own love toward the world we live in today, love in spite of everything. It is a confession in being tremendously attracted to what can be called a modernity in human emotions, but Fassbinder’s melting attraction to it is going together with his ascetic effort to comprehend and to criticize what is so irresistible in today’s human beings with an intellectual calling. Petra von Kant is the best of us, and she is also an alerting sign of danger that the charm of democratic modernity carries inside. The analysis of the very mechanism of the aestheticism of living and feeling is not an easy adventure. Fassbinder mobilizes his scholarly powers to penetrate the aesthetic charms of the main protagonist and her reasoning about life. The predatoriness he finds in the very depth of democratic worldview is, no question, more veiled and even beautified than in pre-democratic behavioral style and in today’s neo-conservative demarches, but simultaneously it is more insidious and more seductive. This film is a necessary gift to anyone with an aesthetic sensitivity and the need to think what is behind the surface of life. It is about the human intellectual power (personified by the director’s thinking in and through the cinematic visuality) deployed against the beauty of the film’s images, and it is about the beauty of the intellectual power deployed against the defensive structures which the minds of the protagonists create to confuse and to entertain themselves and one another. Please, visit: www.actingoutpolitics.com to read about films by Godard, Resnais, Bergman, Pasolini, Cavani, Alain Tanner, Kurosawa, Bresson, Antonioni, Fassbinder, Herzog and Schlondorff (with analysis of shots) By Victor Enyutin
Essentially a filmed play, but still a powerful cinematic experience. Using elegant camera movements, dramatic lighting, and garish set design, Fassbinder illuminates the often-bizarre triangle of a near-mad fashion designer, her masochistic maid, and a cruel model. A must-see for diehard Fassbinder fans.
If this isn't perfect, then it's damn near perfect. One of the most honest depictions of love and relationships and the problems of love and relationships that I've seen. Who would've thought two hours of talking in a woman's bedroom would be so damn gripping viewing?
Here is from a female simpleton....the relationship btw Karin and Petra is one of use-and-abuse - it is not confined to lesbian relationships. There are lots of women who will enter into relatonship just to advance their career (gold digger?). Karin just stayed there long enough to get her c/v good enough to enter the fashion design world. Typical, Immoral, Smart, Woman.
@Daniella: Try looking at it as the modernist revision of Douglas-Sirkean melodrama, rather than "low-budget Bergman". I doubt that there was any artistic influence of one on another or vice-versa. Kitsch, I believe, is here used intentionally (F. gives frequent camp intonations to his films)