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THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT

Germany, 1971 (MIFF 1973)

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Fassbinder's films always force us to become aware of possibilitieswhich remain just out of reach of his characters. Whilst his vision is a bleak one, he never indulges in it for its own sake, and he is constantly able to stand back and observe his characters from a position of relative detachment.

The world in which the drama is played out is Petra's apartment, a prison outside which another reality exists, but one which is only there by implication. Petra has lived her silent, restricted life in the company of her secretary. Marlene, until the arrival of Karin, who is fleeing the world of 'normal' relationships. What follows, becomes a game of moves and counter-moves, and it is through these that we come to understand passions which are never far from the surface.

The film is divided into five acts, measuring the ebb and flow of the three-way interactions. It is taken from Fassbinder's own play, and is performed by members of his theatrical group.

See also...

CHINESE ROULETTE (M)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder embraces psychological melodrama in this blackly comedic domestic pressure cooker, laden with moral conflict and hypocrisy. ... An affluent couple turns a blind eye to each ... More »

MOTHER KüSTER'S TRIP TO HEAVEN

Rainer Fassbinder's film takes up the story of Mrs. Kuster who lives in Frankfurt with her husband, a factory worker, and her son and his pregnant wife. Her life is disrupted when her husband goes ... More »

FOX AND HIS FRIENDS

“One of Fassbinder's easiest, most naturalistic movies.” - New York Times ... Fox is a financially strapped gay man who performs in a travelling circus as ‘Fox the Talking Head'. When he wins ... More »

DESPAIR

Fassbinder is the wonder-boy of the performing arts, turning out fully developed plays, films and television productions of his own with insistent regularity, and still finding time to appear in ... More »

WORLD ON A WIRE (1973)

“There are movies that make news and movies that are news. World on a Wire is one of the latter.” - Village Voice ... R.W. Fassbinder's epic, made-for-TV, science fiction mystery has been ... More »

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