in about 100 words or less
West Germany 124m, Colour
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder; Cast: Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, Irm Hermann, Katrin Schaake, Eva Mattes, Gisela Fackeldey
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant is the film adaptation of a play about the narcissistic world of Petra, a successful fashion designer who is deeply bored with her life. The film explores Petra’s failed relationships as we follow her largely unhappy life from within the confines of her eccentrically decorated mannequin-filled apartment. In an attempt to find some happiness, she attempts to manipulate a young woman into a relationship with her. While much of the story is centered on Petra’s obsession with Karin, we are also witness to a more unusual connection with Marlene – who is Petra’s co-designer and live-in servant, who might best be described as Petra’s willing slave. Although the relationships of Petra von Kant may be baffling to many, this is a unique film with characters and a setting which are richly decorated both figuratively and literally (Klaus Ming November 2010).