A beautiful movie with decidedly enviable clothes. I, to my shame, am very theatre-averse, and this is perhaps the closest I will get to willingly observe dramaturgy on this scale. Wigs, sapphic love, substance abuse, Renaissance backdrops and s&m. What else would you want from a very pretty movie?
But there is a problem. Irm Hermann, Fassbinder’s muse and partner at the time, plays Marlene, the maid whom Petra, our protagonist, abuses. As I was watching, I kept thinking that Fassbinder himself was in an abusive relationship with Irm. The disparity between artistic criticism of the movie and utter dismissal of humanity in real life kept bothering me.
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant), 1972
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder