Die Bitteren Tršnen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant) (1972) - Rotten Tomatoes

Die Bitteren Tršnen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant) (1972)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovimore
Rating: R
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 29, 2005
Runtime:
Wellspring Media Inc.

Cast

Margit Carstensen
as Petra von Kant
Gisela Fackelday
as Valerie von Kant
Irm Hermann
as Marlene
Eva Mattes
as Gabriele von Kant
Katrin Schaake
as Sidonie von Grasenab...
Hanna Schygulla
as Karin Thimm

News & Interviews for Die Bitteren Tršnen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant)

Critic Reviews for Die Bitteren Tršnen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant)

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (3)

The set and costume design and the hothouse atmosphere represent so much high-camp gloss; but once again this careful stylisation enables Fassbinder to balance between parody of an emotional stance and intense commitment to it.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Even those who love pain will be frustrated by The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's most harshly stylized and perhaps most significant film.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Like so many films these days, this one turns out to be more interesting when you get away and think about it.

Full Review… | August 4, 2015
The Spectator

[VIDEO ESSAY] Brecht meets Douglas Sirk and Joseph Mankiewicz ("All About Eve") in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's delectable adaptation of his five-act stageplay, a lesbian triangle of role- switching polarities between dominance and submission.

Full Review… | June 11, 2015
ColeSmithey.com

Handsome with a touch of aloofness... it's a quintessentially Fassbinder portrait of doomed love, jealousy, and social taboos, bouncing between catty melodrama and naked emotional need.

Full Review… | March 14, 2015
Parallax View

Audience Reviews for Die Bitteren Tršnen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant)

½

A very sharp, thought-provoking and also superbly directed story conceived within a perfect 4-act-and-an-epilogue structure and having only a room as stage to depict the degrading vices of relationships, like manipulation, self-humiliation and power games.

blacksheepboy
Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

It's incredible how Fassbinder was able to expertly use one single set and frame it in all ways possible to please his deliciously black humour in order to tell this masochistic story of an obsessive fashion designer and her women.

Matheus Carvalho
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer

"The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant" may be dull, but it's a tribute to director R.W. Fassbinder's mise en scene that it's not even duller. With just six actresses exchanging stilted dialogue on a single set for over two hours, this is not a movie for popcorn-munchers.

The opening credits are layered over a shot of two cats dawdling on a dim stairway. From there, the camera rolls into a bedroom. And stays there. Until the film is over. Luckily, the room has quite a few arresting features, including a 17th-century mural reproduced on the wall, an eerie assortment of nude mannequins and white, fluffy carpet that looks like dog hair. And then there are the costumes. The title character shifts through several wild dresses, robes and wigs (one revealing, pearls-draped outfit almost defies description), and the supporting players are decked in purple, metallic gold, lemon-yellow and more. Fur and feather trim: everywhere.

Petra Von Kant (Margit Carstensen) is a successful fashion designer and the soggy epitome of a mean drunk. She lives with another designer named Marlene (Irm Hermann). Marlene waits on Petra like a servant, never says a word (her eyes speak volumes) and seems to be on the losing end of a dominant/submissive relationship gone stale. Petra's cousin, mother and daughter serve as secondary foils, but her most crucial nemesis is Karin (the effortlessly sexy Hanna Schygulla), a young, fickle model who becomes Petra's lover during the course of the film. Clearly, Marlene is not pleased.

The story does not advance much further than this -- the remaining plot developments barely require two sentences to describe. And in case the lesbian theme excites you, be forewarned that your fantasies will go ungratified. Instead, the action mostly dwells on the self-loathing Petra firing abuse at her visitors and phone-callers. Carstensen carries the film on her bony shoulders and does give a remarkable performance, but the tensions between her and her coterie won't be enough to keep most viewers engaged.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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