The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (German: Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant) is a 1972 German film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, based on his own play. It is the 13th of the 33 films he made in his short life. He explores the changing dynamics of love of a successful fashion designer who is a lesbian. Whether straight or gay, the dynamics of love are very much the same. Love has its object and expectations to which both parties must conform. Love, as a comic observed, is a give and take under all circumstances, only watch out the masochist who took all the time, doesn’t switch roles on you. The film is a case in point.
In relationships the trouble occurs when power wants to get into the act and it is a complication. Power calls the shots and may not know when to stop as in the case of our eponymous heroine. Petra Von Kant (Margit Carstensen) tried straight sex and her both marriages were failure. The first was a great love and the second soon petered out in disgust and she divorced him. Petra then begins an affair with her assistant. She shows her sadistic side to her in making codependent relationships. Through a friend Petra meets Karin, a desirable, ruthless 23-year-old girl whom she wants to subjugate. Petra persuades Karin to become a model and quickly falls madly in love with her. But Petra’s obsessive love is thwarted and Karin leaves Petra. Petra turns now to her assistant and would rekindle her desires once again. But the assistant, who has had satisfied her personal masochistic desire in submitting to Petra, leaves her, too.
Petra because of her position had the advantage and lets that guide her choices. It is an insidious poison chalice that must bring about unexpected results. It is a witty tragedy of lovesickness and one of Fassbinder’s most powerful plays and films.
This film has an all female cast and is set in the home of the protagonist, Petra von Kant. This tale of intermingled love and hate is directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and It explores the universal dynamics present in close human relationships, even lesbian ones.
* Margit Carstensen as Petra von Kant
* Hanna Schygulla as Karin Thimm
* Katrin Schaake as Sidonie von Grasenabb
* Eva Mattes as Gabriele von Kant
* Gisela Fackeldey as Valerie von Kant
* Irm Hermann as Marlene
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Produced by Michael Fengler
(Filmverlag der Autoren)
Written by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Thea Eymèsz
Distributed by New Yorker Films (USA)
Release date(s) Flag of Germany June 25, 1972
Flag of the United States October 12, 1973
Running time 124 min.
Budget DEM 325,000 (estimated)- wikipedia
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Movies with the Same Personnel
Effi Briest (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Querelle (1982, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Chinese Roulette (1976, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
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has been remade as: The Politics of Fur (2002, Laura Nix)
Petra von Kant: It’s easy to pity, Sidonie, but so much harder to understand. If you understand someone, don’t pity them, change them. Only pity what you cant understand.
Petra von Kant: Of course he took me seriously, respected my opinions… but nevertheless, he wanted to be the breadwinner. That way, oppression lies, that’s obvious. It’s like this, ‘I hear what you’re saying and of course I understand, but who brings home the bacon?’ So there you are, two sets of rules!
Petra von Kant: … he hit a bad patch. At first it was almost funny seeing his ridiculous pride being hurt, and to be honest, I quite enjoyed it.
Petra von Kant: He stank like a man. The way men stink. What had once had its charms now turned my stomach and brought tears to my eyes.
Petra von Kant: I felt nothing for him anymore. Far from it, it got worse. When we ate together his chewing… it was like an explosion. When he swallowed my gorge rose. The way he cut meat, held his cigarette, his whiskey glass… it all seemed so absurd, so affected. I was ashamed for him because I imagined everyone must see him as I did. Of course, it was hysteria. Panic, Sidonie. There was nothing left to save. The end.
Petra von Kant: I think people need each other, they’re made that way. But they haven’t learnt how to live together.
Petra von Kant: Talented? She’s not talented, she just knows how to sell herself.
Petra von Kant: It’s a waste of time being nice to servants.
Sidonie: It’s Karins fault.
Valerie von Kant: Karin? What’s it to do with Karin?
Sidonie: Everyone knows Petra’s mad about her.
Petra von Kant: Mad? I’m not mad, Sidonie. I love her! Love her as I’ve never loved anything in my life… that girl’s little finger is worth more than the lot of you.
Valerie von Kant: My daughter loves a girl. How strange. A girl! My daughter.
Film was shot in ten days.
(Ack: allmovie- by Clarke Fountain,wikipedia,imdb)
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