Our Rating: ★★½☆☆
L Factor: Lesbian Film
Short Take: Love triangle between a fashion designer, her maid and a model. A Rainer Werner Fassbinder film.
Alternate Titles: Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant
Year: 1972
Duration: 124 min
Language: West Germany/German
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Writer: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, Katrin Schaake, Eva Mattes, Gisela Fackeldey, Irm Hermann

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Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

Petra von Kant (Margit Carstensen) is a divorced fashion designer and extremely stuck on herself. Her maid/secretary Marlene (Irm Hermann) seems to do everything for her, jumping to attention. She’s also a co-designer, so it’s unclear who really has the talent here.

Karin (Hanna Schygulla) enters as a young woman whom Petra offers to help out financially, and they become lovers. Only this time, Petra falls in love with Karin, but Karin is just using her and leaves when she’s back on her feet. The self-possessed Petra can’t believe it. All this time, Marlene has been the one completely devoted to her, but when Petra realizes this, it’s too late. Marlene leaves as well, leaving Petra alone.

The entire film takes place in one room, showing Petra’s reality – a woman who thinks herself a worldly designer, but is only the queen of her room. It’s a two-hour movie based on a play heavy with dialog and moves at a snail’s pace.

Written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, well known gay German director. (AB)