Monday, April 10, 2006

The Bitter Tear of Petra von Kant

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972) [8]
This is certainly the most obtuse and patient of all Fassbinder films I have seen to this point. That can be a good and a bad thing. I think that Fassbinder has hit the right notes in addressing how the women’s relationships are, especially between Petra and Karin. The film certainly does a good job of showing the manipulation and power inherent in these relationships which goes far beyond any homosexual context that’s on the surface. Even though I liked what the film was doing, I definitely had a hard time getting into it. I have to admit I fell asleep for a few short instances, but this was not out of boredom. It probably wasn’t a good idea to have a bottle of wine and then attempt to fully engage with this film. You need to have a lot of patience in order to really understand what Fassbinder is doing. That intense focus makes it difficult to give this a grade of greatness. That's not some simple, I-don't-want-to-think-while-watching-a-movie statement; I think that the film is a little too rigorous to fully enjoy.

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