Close Up

12 October - 19 December 2019: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant


The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972, 124 min
German with English subtitles

"In this lushly furnished chamber piece, against a wall covered by a Titian-like reproduction of the naked at play, a bitter (fully draped) lesbian romance is played out to the strains of Vivaldi and The Platters. It is the home of the fashion designer Petra von Kant (Margit Carstensen) and her slave/secretary/stylist, Marlene (Irm Hermann). Their comedy of bad manners is interrupted when Petra falls in love with a new model, the seemingly naive Karin (Hanna Schygulla), who comes from basic Fassbinder proletariat stock – that is, her father, like Herr R., went "amok"  and who, as Petra's mistress, becomes her master. With Fox and His Friends, Petra von Kant is less about homosexuality than about love and class, its victories reversed from Fox's. Within the one room, the camera never ceases to surprise, lurking behind posts, hiding the "real" in mirrored reflection, seeking out Marlene when she thinks she can't be seen, and refusing to find Petra when she imagines she is the center of the universe."  Judy Bloch

Part of our season on Rainer Werner Fassbinder