The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant


The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

What a beautifil title for a film. It has a cinematic quality that we rarely encounter with movie titles. It is not fit for literature, and though it works perfectly for a play, something about the tears evokes something tragic and classical about cinema.

Too bad the movie is anything but cinematic. I understand there is a sheer fierceness that Fassbinder injects into his work, but here it appears as a hurriedness. This attests as to why he managed to be so prolific, fast shootings.

And yes, the themes… Cassavetes figured out how to turn all these wordly personal dramatic verities into a cinematic object (he hustled ’emotional’ performances out of his actors and put his eye on their bodies), but otherwise we have actors being ‘actorly’, and a polite and classical camera that simply frames (oh it moves around a few times). There is no craft in the filming, no directional force that sprung from a cinematic vision. So we have no impact, no life-altering material, just some honest and good intentions.

I guess it’s just another artifact from a furious artistic life. We can take it as art, because we see that he’s involved with it in a personal and harrowing way. I must admit, I appreciate the man a lot. And I also appreciate this. But not for the reasons I am generally concerned with regarding my relationship to film.

Skip this, and try your luck somewhere else, there are 41.

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Categories: Notes

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