Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
Original title: Die Bitteren Tranen Der Petra von Kant
West Germany, 1972. Filmverlag der Autoren, Tango Film. Screenplay by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, based on his play. Cinematography by Michael Ballhaus. Produced by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Michael Fengler. Production Design by Kurt Raab. Costume Design by Maja Lemcke. Film Editing by Thea Eymesz.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s incredible career of 43 films in sixteen years includes this memorable, talky, dry but stylish drama that was shot in ten days and all takes place in one room. Margit Carstensen is terrific as the title character, a supervixen fashion designer who is introduced to the lovely Hanna Schygulla by a friend and immediately falls in love. When Schygulla leaves her for an American soldier, our heroine descends into an obsessive madness that alienates her from her mother, daughter and much-abused assistant (an iconic Irm Hermann). Great costumes and gorgeous cinematography by Michael Ballhaus, but it’s mostly a film about posing in mad stances and doesn’t have much substance.
The Criterion Collection: #740
Berlin Film Festival: In Competition