Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant) 1972 MA15+

7.45PM Wed 1 Nov 2017 (2hrs 4mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

Every decent director has only one subject, and finally only makes the same film over and over again. My subject is the exploitability of feelings, whoever might be the one exploiting them. It never ends. It's a permanent theme. Whether the state exploits patriotism, or whether in a couple relationship, one partner destroys the other. – Fassbinder

Once again mining his personal life for material, Fassbinder based The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant on his volcanic love affair with muse Günther Kaufmann. In an arch bit of gender reversal, the film stars Margit Carstensen as the stand-in for Fassbinder. She plays the titular character, a haughty and caustic fashion designer who is catered to ceaselessly by her subservient live-in assistant (Irm Hermann). Petra seems to enjoy wielding a sadistic control over her silent factotum. But when an aspiring model (Hanna Schygulla) captures Petra's affections, power dynamics begin to shift. As Petra's obsession deepens, so begins a slow, inevitable dissolution of her fraught relationships. Though adapted from Fassbinder's own play and essentially a chamber piece, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant is made thoroughly cinematic through Michael Ballhaus's claustrophobic camerawork and the sparse but eye-popping art direction by Kurt Raab (one wall of Petra's apartment is covered entirely by a giant blow-up of Nicolas Poussin's 1624 painting Midas and Bacchus).

MA15+ | Nudity and sexual references

CREDITS

35MM TRANSFERRED TO DCP, 1.37:1, COLOUR (EASTMANCOLOR), MONO, 124 MINUTES, WEST GERMANY, GERMAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER / BASED ON THE PLAY BY RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER / CINEMATOGRAPHER: MICHAEL BALLHAUS / EDITOR: THEA EYMÈSZ / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: KURT RAAB / COSTUME DESIGNER: MAJA LEMCKE / CAST: MARGIT CARSTENSEN, HANNA SCHYGULLA, IRM HERMANN, EVA MATTES / PRODUCTION CO: FILMVERLAG DER AUTOREN, TANGO FILM / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER FOUNDATION