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Criterion Collection: Bitter Tears Of Petra Von
     

Criterion Collection: Bitter Tears Of Petra Von

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margit Carstensen, Gisela Fackelday, Irm Hermann

Cast: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margit Carstensen, Gisela Fackelday, Irm Hermann

 

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This tale of intermingled love and hate is directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and is the 13th of the 33 films he made in his short life. It explores the universal dynamics present in close human relationships, even lesbian ones. Petra Von Kant (Margit Carstensen) is a fashion designer. Some time ago, she divorced the husband she no longer loved. Until recently, she

Overview

This tale of intermingled love and hate is directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and is the 13th of the 33 films he made in his short life. It explores the universal dynamics present in close human relationships, even lesbian ones. Petra Von Kant (Margit Carstensen) is a fashion designer. Some time ago, she divorced the husband she no longer loved. Until recently, she has been in a fairly satisfactory S & M relationship with her assistant. When she develops an obsession with her fashion model, however, things become far more complicated.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Very much a "love it or hate it" kind of movie, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant is also a movie unlike any other. Rainer Werner Fassbinder revels in the fact that Petra is played entirely on one set -- and not an especially large one at that. The claustrophobia of this setting mirrors the suffocation that is part and parcel of these characters' world, a suffocation caused by a lack of communication which is in turn caused by their perverse obsession with power. This obsession is most obvious in the sado-masochistic relationships of the characters, in which dominance and subservience are key, but it trickles down into every aspect of their lives. Yet despite the fact that Petra is a one-set film, Fassbinder makes it cinematic. His compositions in each and every frame are stunning, and his lengthy shots have a grace and depth to them that provide impact. The dialogue throughout is arch, stilted, artificial and highly quotable; it's over the top and deliberately unrealistic, adding to the distancing effect that mirrors these character's inability to communicate in a sane and humane manner. To play such dialogue requires intense commitment on the part of the actors, and those in Petra are brilliant. Yes, they are stylized and unrealistic, but that's what Fassbinder is going for and they are fascinating and spellbinding -- even the silent Irm Hermann. Lead Margit Carstensen is deserving of special mention for her committed, devastating performance. Those who tune in to Fassbinder will find Petra a challenge but a thrill; those who don't will be incredibly bored.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/13/2015
UPC:
0715515135511
Original Release:
1972
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
2:05:00
Sales rank:
12,144

Special Features

New interviews with Ballhaus and actors Margit Carstensen, Eva Mattes, Katrin Schaake, and Hanna Schygulla New Interview with film scholar Jane Shattuc Role Play: women on Fassbinder, a 1992 german television documentary by Thomas Honickel featuring interviews with Carstensen, Schygulla, and actors Irm Hermann and Rosel Zech

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