The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

Released 1972


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Trailer: The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant: I Don't Regret It (US)

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In the early 1970s, Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Berlin Alexanderplatz) discovered the American melodramas of Douglas Sirk and was inspired by them to begin working in a new, more intensely emotional register. One of the earliest and best-loved films of this period in his career is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, which balances a realistic depiction of tormented romance with staging that remains true to the director’s roots in experimental theater. This unforgettable, unforgiving dissection of the imbalanced relationship between a haughty fashion designer (Margit Carstensen) and a beautiful but icy ingenue (Hanna Schygulla)—based, in a sly gender reversal, on the writer-director’s own desperate obsession with a young actor—is a fully Fassbinder affair, featuring exquisitely claustrophobic cinematography by Michael Ballhaus (The Last Temptation of Christ) and full-throttle performances by an all-female cast.moreless
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