(aka 'The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant')


directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
West Germany 1972



The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant: Petra Von Kant is a successful fashion designer of moderate wealth. Petra has a silent servant, Marlene, who she badly mistreats and is constantly ordering her to do the most menial tasks. Petra was once married and has a daughter at boarding school, but now has no use for men. After a long conversation with her friend, the Baroness Sidonie, concerning their views on men and the impact of male-female relationships on their independence, Sidonie introduces Petra to Karin. Petra is instantly smitten by Karin and their relationship, and the effect it has on Petra, is the basis for the rest of the film.

The film was taken from a stage play and takes place entirely in Petra's apartment, but never feels like it's on a stage. The set does nothing to constrain the story, on the contrary, it contributes to the feeling of imprisonment that is one of the films themes. It is a showcase of powerful, emotional performances by Margit Carstensen as Petra, Hanna Schygulla as Karin, and Irm Hermann as Marlene. Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's script delves into the nature of female relationships, sexual power, ambition, and despair.

Brook Kennon

Excerpt from his review HERE at DVDBeaver.com


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DVD REVIEW: Wellspring Media Inc.  Region 1

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Distribution Wellspring Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:04:04  minutes
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
Bitrate: Wellspring

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Audio German (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround) , German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)  
Subtitles (Yellow) English or None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Wellspring Media, In
Theatrical Release Date: January 1, 1972
DVD Release Date: October 29, 2002
Run Time: 124 minutes

Edition Details:
• Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
• Color, Dolby

• Audio Commentary from Jane Shuttuc (Professor at Emerson College)

• Documentary "Fassbiner 1997" (30 minutes)

• Insert Linear Essay by Thomas Elsaesser of the University of Amsterdam

• 2 Short 16mm Films "The City Tramp" and "Little Chaos"

• Filmographies

• Weblinks

What I saw of the picture looks to be free of the artifacts that plagued 'The Merchant of Four Seasons'. There is too much edge enhancement and even on my 32" set I could detect slight ringing. However in terms of color and detail the picture is very nice, a quantum leap from the VHS which is the only way I'd watched this previously.
The mono track is fine like the other Wellspring discs, I didn't bother listening to the 5.1.
As for extras, looks like Wellspring may be listening to some of it's criticism or just trying to deflect it. There's a blurb that states that all film elements were provided by the Fassbinder Foundation and all picture decisions and aspect ratio decisions were made by the FF.
Surprise, surprise, this may be the first Wellspring/Winstar/Fox Lorber  disc to have an insert (ed. Actually, exactly the same insert was in Katzelmacher). There is a very interesting liner essay titled "A Cinema of Vicious Circles" by Thomas Elsaesser of the University of Amsterdam, he's credited with writing "Fassbinder's Germany", "Weimar Cinema and After", "Metropolis", & "Studying Contemporary American Film"
The documentary is what we've been waiting for "Fassbinder - 1977", 30m of interviews and behind the scenes footage of Fassbinder at work.  I only watched 5m, but it was much more interesting than either of the Merchant docs.
Fassbinders 1st 2 short films are included "The City Tramp" and "Little Chaos", both are B&W 16mm so neither looks great, but both very watch-able, maybe a bit better than the F/L disc of Les Mistons.  Fassbinder looks very young in "Little Chaos"
The commentary is by Jane Shattuc.  Jane Shattuc is a film studies professor at Emerson College, and her primary interests tend to be Fassbinder and women and popular culture/entertainment. She has written "Television, Tabloids, and Tears: Fassbinder and Popular Culture." May be too theoretical for my taste, but I only listened to 5-10m of it.
All subs are removable.
Looks like a good job from Wellspring so I can breath easier knowing they didn't screw up one of my favorites. The documentary looks very good and being able to see Fassbinder's first 2 films will be great.  I hope that when someone else has time to make a closer inspection they don't discover artifacts or other nastiness I missed.    Brook Kennon


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DVD Release Date: October 29, 2002
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Chapters: 28

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