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The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)
"Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant" (original title)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,441 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 46 critic

Petra von Kant is a successful fashion designer -- arrogant, caustic, and self-satisfied. She mistreats Marlene (her secretary, maid, and co-designer). Enter Karin, a 23-year-old beauty who... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Margit Carstensen ...
...
Katrin Schaake ...
Eva Mattes ...
Gisela Fackeldey ...
Irm Hermann ...
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Storyline

Petra von Kant is a successful fashion designer -- arrogant, caustic, and self-satisfied. She mistreats Marlene (her secretary, maid, and co-designer). Enter Karin, a 23-year-old beauty who wants to be a model. Petra falls in love with Karin and invites her to move in. The rest of the film deals with the emotions of this affair and its aftermath. Fassbinder tells his story in a series of 5 or 6 long scenes with extended uses of a single camera shot and deep focus. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sex is the ultimate weapon.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

5 October 1972 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 325,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film was shot in ten days. See more »

Quotes

Petra von Kant: Talented? She's not talented, she just knows how to sell herself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Gewidmet dem, der hier Marlene wurde. (Dedicated to the one who became Marlene here) See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.10 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

'Un dì felice' from 'La Traviata'
Written by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

 
"I think people need each other, they're made that way. But they haven't learnt how to live together." - Petra von Kant
27 August 2006 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

"The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" (1972) - was the first Fassbinder's film I saw many years ago in Moscow and it had started my fascination and interest in the work of the enormously talented man who was a writer/director/producer/editor/actor for almost all his movies. "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" is a screen adaptation of the earlier Fassbinder's play and it never leaves the apartment of Petra Von Kant, an arrogant, sarcastic, and successful fashion designer who constantly mistreats and humiliates her always silent and obedient assistant Marianne (Irm Hermann, with whom Fassbinder made 24 movies). As a background for Petra's apartment, Fassbinder uses the blowup of Poussin's painting "Midas and Bacchus." The use of the mural is ironic on more than one level. Nude Bacchus stands in the center of the mural and is the only male presence in a film populated entirely with women. Petra, not unlike legendary Midas wished for herself a golden girl, young and beautiful Karin with golden hair (Hanna Schygulla, another Fassbinder's muse with whom he made over 20 films). As with Midas from legend, it turned to be a huge mistake for Petra who learned herself what abuse, indifference, and humiliation meant. With just a few characters locked in the claustrophobic and suffocating atmosphere of the apartment, the film is never slow or boring thanks to the young director/writer story-telling ability and to magic camera work by Michael Ballhaus ("Goodfellas", "The Last Temptation of Christ", and "After Hours" among others). It is hard to believe that such a gorgeous looking movie was shot for ten days only. I've read that Fassbinder was able to make so many movies in such a short period of time because they were cheaply produced - no special effects, no big action scenes, no exotic locations. This is true but his movies are most certainly not cheap - highly intelligent, thought provoking, always excellently acted and beautiful or perhaps I've been lucky and have not seen the ones that don't fit the description.

9.5/10


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