7.8/10
6,178
26 user 57 critic

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 5 October 1972 (West Germany)
An arrogant fashion designer falls in love with an icy beauty who wants to be a model.

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A World War II widow seeks to adjust to life in postwar Germany.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Löwitsch, Ivan Desny
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An almost accidental romance is kindled between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Hans Epp is a self-destructive man who lives a dissatisfied life. He tries to find meaning as a fruit vendor, but a heart attack impedes his ability to work, which turns his dissatisfaction into despair.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hans Hirschmüller, Irm Hermann, Hanna Schygulla
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Working class and middle-upper class worlds come together in this interesting look at class conflict within the gay world from the German director Reiner Werner Fassbinder. Fassbinder plays... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Peter Chatel, Karlheinz Böhm
Veronika Voss (1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A washed up UFA actress, kept by her doctor, raises suspicion in a sports journalist.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Rosel Zech, Hilmar Thate, Cornelia Froboess
Lili Marleen (1981)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Switzerland German singer 'Willie' falls in love with Jewish composer 'Robert' who offers resistance to the Nazis by helping refugees. But his family thinks that 'Willie' is also a Nazi ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Giancarlo Giannini, Mel Ferrer
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

On a film set there are two things missing, the film material and the director. So the actors and actresses as well as the crew try to make the best out of the situation. When the director ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Lou Castel, Eddie Constantine, Marquard Bohm
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Both the parents of a young teen who walks with crutches, goes on each their secret meeting with lovers, both surprising each other at the family's county home. The daughter arrives and initiates a guessing game of "Chinese roulette".

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Anna Karina, Margit Carstensen, Brigitte Mira
Katzelmacher (1969)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Jorgos, a migrant worker from Greece, joins a group of young people in Munich usually hanging around. This foreigner incites hostility and jealousy among them, and he is insulted as a "... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Lilith Ungerer, Rudolf Waldemar Brem
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

This drama follows the last few days in the life of Elvira (formerly Erwin) Weisshaupt. Years before, Erwin told a co-worker, Anton, that he loved him. "Too bad, you aren't a woman," he ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Volker Spengler, Ingrid Caven, Gottfried John
Lola (1981)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In post-war West Germany, the charming Von Bohm is appointed a city's new Building Commissioner. His morality is tested when he unknowingly falls in love with a brothel worker, Lola, the paid mistress of a corrupt property developer.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Barbara Sukowa, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Mario Adorf
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In the nineteenth century, seventeen year old Effi Briest is married to the older Baron von Instetten and moves into a house, that she believes has a ghost, in a small isolated Baltic town.... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Wolfgang Schenck, Ulli Lommel
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Eva Mattes ...
Gisela Fackeldey ...
...
Edit

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 | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Petra von Kant: I think people need each other, they're made that way. But they haven't learnt how to live together.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

In My Room
Written by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Fassbinder's ultimate masterpiece
13 February 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

During his 37 years on Earth, the great German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder made a total of 41 films in his 13 year film career. Not counting the countless plays, TV series and acting gigs he did, his output was ferocious, much like his personal life. There have been many things written and spoken about Fassbinder - that he was anti-Semitic, tyrannical, misanthropic and homophobic (even though he was an open homosexual) - yet no-one will deny his raw genius and his place as a driving force in the New German Cinema movement. He made many fantastic films, and I don't think I would be alone is stating that he was at his best when dealing with melodrama, and more specifically, complex female characters.

Possibly his best known film, Fear Eats The Soul, is widely considered his best, but I feel that The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant shows Fassbinder at the top of his game. He usually worked with the same troupe of actors (Brigitte Mira, Kurt Raab, Karlheinz Bohm amongst others) and here he has two of his finest - Margit Carstensen as the powerful yet desperate fashion designer Petra Von Kant, and Hanna Schygulla (who played the title character in Fassbinder's other masterpiece The Marriage Of Maria Braun) as her newly appointed love interest, Karin. In my opinion, Carstensen is one of the finest actresses in cinema history, along with Bette Davis and Liv Ullmann, and is never better here. She is dominating and sadistic, yet when she opens up to her cousin Sidonie (Katrin Scaake) or her new lesbian lover Karin, she is tragic, broken and lonely. It is a tour-de-force on display, as her character changes as much as she changes her hairpieces.

Petra is residing in her apartment when we first meet her, awoken by fellow designer Marlene (Irm Hermann) who stays with her. We quickly learn that Petra sadistically treats Marlene like a slave, ordering her to bring her things and even orders her to slow-dance at one point. When she is joined by her cousin, Petra reveals how her past relationships with men have ended in disaster and resentment, and that men will ultimately leave her empty and disappointed. She is introduced to Karin, a timid model who Petra visibly becomes interested in, and eventually infatuated by. As Petra and Karin start a seemingly cold and difficult relationship, Petra's jealousy and fear of loneliness comes to the fore as she struggles to hold herself together. In one particularly powerful scene, Petra sits motionless on the edge of the bed after being told by Karin how none-existent her feelings really are, and a single tear rolls slowly down her face. Her face is as white as porcelain and as motionless as a doll, as the realisation hits her that her situation is as fake as the mannequins she decorates with her creations.

Adapted from his own play, Fassbinder never moves the action outside Petra's claustrophobic apartment, instead allowing the pent up feelings to explode within the confines of one room. The screenplay, acting, cinematography and music is absolute perfection, and in my opinion this is Fassbinder's crowning achievement. The final scene, which I won't reveal, is in turn hilarious and heartbreaking. If you are as spellbound as I am by the acting talents of Carstensen, then I would recommend both Fear Of Fear and Satan's Brew (both Fassbinder) to see the full range of her ability. Possibly the finest film of the New German Cinema movement.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com


10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page