The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

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"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." -Tony Rayns, Time Out

"Rainer Werner Fassbinder's most harshly stylized and perhaps most significant film." -Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

"The best movie on role playing, power, and human suffering that I have seen in a long time." -Karla Jay, The Lesbian Tide

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant
Director: 
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Country: 
West Germany
Year: 
1972
Runtime: 
125 minutes

In the early 1970s, Rainer Werner Fassbinder 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 first 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 true Fassbinder affair, featuring exquisitely claustrophobic cinematography by Michael Ballhaus and full-throttle performances by an all-female cast.

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$8 tickets available in advance online and at the door.