740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#1 Post by domino harvey » Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:53 pm

ImageImage

In the early 1970s, Rainer Werner Fassbinder discovered the American melodramas of Douglas Sirk and was inspired by them to begin working in a new, more intensely emotional register. One of the earliest and best-loved films of this period in his career is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, which balances a realistic depiction of tormented romance with staging that remains true to the director’s roots in experimental theater. This unforgettable, unforgiving dissection of the imbalanced relationship between a haughty fashion designer (Margit Carstensen) and a beautiful but icy ingenue (Hanna Schygulla)—based, in a sly gender reversal, on the writer-director’s own desperate obsession with a young actor—is a fully Fassbinder affair, featuring exquisitely claustrophobic cinematography by Michael Ballhaus and full-throttle performances by an all-female cast.

Disc Features
New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Michael Ballhaus, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interviews with Ballhaus and actors Margit Carstensen, Eva Mattes, Katrin Schaake, and Hanna Schygulla
New interview with film scholar Jane Shattuc about director Rainer Werner Fassbinder and the film
Role Play: Women on Fassbinder, a 1992 German television documentary by Thomas Honickel featuring interviews with Carstensen, Schygulla, and actors Irm Hermann and Rosel Zech
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by critic Peter Matthews

nolanoe
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:25 am

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#2 Post by nolanoe » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:05 pm

And there we go, one of the bottom 5 Fassbinder's on Blu-Ray. :/

Why is it his lesser films garner that much attention? Welt am Draht and Angst Essen Seele Auf are his only top-tier films that got a proper treatment so far. Despair (good but flawed) and Querelle (so bad it's art or so art it's bad) are nice additions, but I'd rather go for Alexanderplatz, In Einem Jahr mit 13 Monden, Lola, Dritte Generation...

Maybe I am just frustrated that people for some reason love Petra von Kant and Maria Braun...?

Haven't seen any of the rest, so not really an opinion of them - which is a good sign?
Last edited by nolanoe on Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
SpiderBaby
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:34 pm

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#3 Post by SpiderBaby » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:13 pm

nolanoe wrote:And there we go, one of the bottom 5 Fassbinder's on Blu-Ray. :/

Why is it his lesser films garner that much attention? Welt am Draht and Angst Essen Seele Auf are his only top-tier films that got a proper treatment so far. Despair (good but flawed) and Querelle (so bad it's art or so art it's bad) are nice additions, but I'd rather go for Alexanderplatz, In Einem Jahr mit 13 Monden, Lola, Dritte Generation...

Maybe I am just frustrated that people for some reason love Petra von Kant and Maria Braun...?

Haven't seen any of the rest, so not really an opinion of them - which is a good sign?
The Third Generation is my favorite Fassbinder, which in turn is one of my favorite films due to Fassbinder being my favorite filmmaker. But they don't have the rights. They seem to be releasing the old Wellspring releases, and this is one of the popular ones. Hope the rest get blu-ray releases too and no more Eclipse sets (I have them all on dvd so doesn't do much for me).

User avatar
barryconvex
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:08 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#4 Post by barryconvex » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:26 pm

And there we go, one of the bottom 5 Fassbinder's on Blu-Ray. :/

Why is it his lesser films garner that much attention?
TBH ...Petra Von Kant is pretty far from my favorite of his (although certainly not in the bottom 5) but i welcome it with open arms like i do every one of his films that gets a blu ray...Berlin Alexanderplatz, In a Year With 13 Moons, Lola, and The Third Generation all have perfectly fine dvd releases. If you were talking about Jailbait, Lili Marleen or any of his filmed plays maybe i could agree with what you're saying...

nolanoe
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:25 am

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#5 Post by nolanoe » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:30 pm

By now, I figure people figured I have a bit of a divergent opinion on the man, but I find it... troublesome that some of his best films remain released in bad versions, while some of his worst are treated like Citizen Kane. :roll:

The Stationmaster's Wife is also still unreleased. :-s
Last edited by nolanoe on Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ashirg
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:10 am
Location: Atlanta

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#6 Post by Ashirg » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:31 pm

The Stationmaster's Wife is still with Olive.

User avatar
SpiderBaby
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:34 pm

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#7 Post by SpiderBaby » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:37 pm

Ashirg wrote:The Stationmaster's Wife is still with Olive.
Who keeps replying to my questions on that film with 'coming this year' every year I ask. I'm hoping they announce it before the end of the year.

Lili Marleen or Jailbait would be a great announcement from Criterion.

nolanoe
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:25 am

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#8 Post by nolanoe » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:01 pm

Jailbait will never happen. :(

Lili Marleen would be cool - I think every screen grab I ever saw of the DVD versions looked QUITE PALE!!!!!!!!!!! (understatement - they look rubbish)

Noiradelic
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:45 am

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#9 Post by Noiradelic » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:11 pm

nolanoe wrote:And there we go, one of the bottom 5 Fassbinder's on Blu-Ray. :/

Why is it his lesser films garner that much attention? Welt am Draht and Angst Essen Seele Auf are his only top-tier films that got a proper treatment so far. Despair (good but flawed) and Querelle (so bad it's art or so art it's bad) are nice additions, but I'd rather go for Alexanderplatz, In Einem Jahr mit 13 Monden, Lola, Dritte Generation...

Maybe I am just frustrated that people for some reason love Petra von Kant and Maria Braun...?

Haven't seen any of the rest, so not really an opinion of them - which is a good sign?
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Marriage of Maria Braun and Petra von Kant are, along with In a Year with 13 Moons, widely considered to be among Fassbinder's best 70s films, so Criterion isn't going hold back from releasing them just because you personally deem them "lesser." 13 Moons is likely to be one of their next few Fassbinder releases along with Fox and His Friends and Effie Briest (going by Hulu).

World on a Wire came out before the deal in which they acquired the Wellspring Fassbinder catalog, so it was a matter of having much less to choose from at the time.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#10 Post by domino harvey » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:15 pm

The curious should be reminded that you can pick this film up along with eight others for less than thirty American dollars shipped at Amazon.co.uk. If you love it, then upgrade, for sure, but those two Fassbinder Arrow boxes are still the best world cinema deal in the world as far as I'm concerned

User avatar
SpiderBaby
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:34 pm

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#11 Post by SpiderBaby » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:35 pm

Despair and World on a Wire are on blu-ray because they had the most recent restorations, so I understand those coming first (and actually love that films like those are released on blu-ray instead of the same ol' top 100 stuff). 'Eight Hours are not a Day' is next to get a restoration from the Fassbinder Foundation in 2015, so don't be surprised to see that get a blu-ray in 2016.

Is it for sure Criterion has 13 Moons? Fantoma's releases went OOP, but I just thought Criterion had the Wellspring films and possibly Lili Marleen (which has been a rumor since like 2009).

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#12 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:36 pm

Noiradelic wrote:Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Marriage of Maria Braun and Petra von Kant are widely considered to be among Fassbinder's best 70s films...
Absolutely. I think few people argued with the great Ali (still my favorite of his films). I can understand the criticism against Braun, I never thought it was a great film (albeit a solid one with an excellent performance by Schygulla). But I'm stunned by the criticism against von Kant (and for that matter Sturges' The Palm Beach Story - Jesus, really?). At the very least, this was a huge turning point for Fassbinder, maybe the most important stylistic development of his career, and for my money it's one of his best "early" works.

nolanoe
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:25 am

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#13 Post by nolanoe » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:42 pm

Noiradelic wrote:Marriage of Maria Braun and Petra von Kant are, along with In a Year with 13 Moons, widely considered to be among Fassbinder's best 70s films
More like "among his 70 best films" (geez, I really hate Maria Brain and Petra von Kant).

I actually do think they are championed that much because most of his good films are still hard to acquire, and they're, well... "all 70s, and stuff".

User avatar
Cremildo
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:19 pm
Location: Brazil
Contact:

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#14 Post by Cremildo » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:48 pm

Noiradelic wrote:Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Marriage of Maria Braun and Petra von Kant are, along with In a Year with 13 Moons, widely considered to be among Fassbinder's best 70s films, so Criterion isn't going hold back from releasing them just because you personally deem them "lesser." .
Indeed.

This is the first time - ever - that I witness such contempt for Von Kant. The film is widely regarded as one of Fassbinder's most seminal works. Every Fassbinder book or essay or bio corroborate the acclaim. The same goes to Maria Braun.
This kind of "contrarianism-as-fact" bothers me because someone less informed might actually think such claims reflect the consensus, which is obviously not the case.

User avatar
Cremildo
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:19 pm
Location: Brazil
Contact:

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#15 Post by Cremildo » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:51 pm

nolanoe wrote:I actually do think they are championed that much because most of his good films are still hard to acquire, and they're, well... "all 70s, and stuff".
Yeah, only you know what his "good" films in fact are. Everybody else is just deluded or clueless. :roll:

Noiradelic
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:45 am

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#16 Post by Noiradelic » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:23 pm

SpiderBaby wrote:Is it for sure Criterion has 13 Moons?
Sorry, I made some unfounded assumptions there. Suffice to say, IF Criterion has/can get it it would be a pretty high priority for them.

Noiradelic
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:45 am

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#17 Post by Noiradelic » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:26 pm

nolanoe wrote:and they're, well... "all 70s, and stuff".
:-k

Raymond Marble
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:48 pm

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#18 Post by Raymond Marble » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:59 pm

Add a +1 for people who love Petra. As an undergrad I took a whole, semester-long course dedicated to Fassbinder, and now I teach Fassbinder myself quite often (always Fears Eats the Soul, though). Maria Braun strikes me as somewhat overrated--I still like it, but I don't think it's one of his best--but Petra I'll stand behind all the way. (And, since it's been mentioned in many other posts in this thread already, I'd put In a Year with 13 Moons neck and neck with Fear Eats the Soul for the position of Fassbinder's single best film.)

User avatar
R0lf
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 7:25 am

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#19 Post by R0lf » Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:56 am

I presume the negative comments regarding Maria are due to melodrama not being considered a "serious" genre worthy of higher praise?

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#20 Post by zedz » Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:15 am

A friend of mine once described Petra Von Kant as the best film ever made about relationships between gay men, and I think that's quite a rewarding way to approach it. Fassbinder is always talking about himself through his female leads.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#21 Post by Lemmy Caution » Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:54 am

As always, just wanted to chime in with praise for Veronika Voss. VV and 13 Moons are by far my favorite Fassbinder films. I only recently watched Petra for the first time a few months back and was somewhat ambivalent about it. There were elements I liked but overall it left me dissatisfied and seemed (intentionally) limited. I'm hoping the Criterion edition provides some useful context which might help me appreciate it more. I suppose I could also yahoo around (google being blocked in China) and read up on the film as well.

I've been meaning to dig out all my kevipped Fassbinder -- Satan's Brew, The Niklashausen Journey, Chinese Roulette, Merchant of 4 Seasons -- to come close to viewing his complete works. I was encouraged recently to see in the Fassbinder thread that the latter two garnered a lot of praise.
Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
liam fennell
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:54 pm

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#22 Post by liam fennell » Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:28 am

I love Rainer more than just about any artist and I rate this one pretty high up indeed even though I rarely want to watch it because it is emotionally draining. The thing is just achingly beautiful though definitely and unapologetically hysterical! It really is a huge turning point, as far as I can tell. So much to like here; the photography is somehow endlessly inventive even though the camera is confined to a single room jam-packed full of stuff. It's a real virtuoso show of directing and staging. The little twist at the very end is devastating and daring as hell. Margit Carstensen plays her role for all it is worth, setting the stage for what I think is an even better film, Martha. And of course it's a rather intensive, sincere and thorough study of what seems to be Fassbinder's favorite theme, exploitation in relationships.

Also worth noting - Rainer reportedly wrote the play during one long round-trip plane flight from Germany to Hollywood and back! Then immediately staged and filmed it within a few weeks, if I remember right.

Great movie, I will totally be buying it again.

rrenault
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:49 pm

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#23 Post by rrenault » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:11 am

Petra von Kant isn't my favorite of Fassbinder's, but with RWF you just have to watch as much as possible. The 'minor' stuff like Chinese Roulette is just as vital as the 'major' stuff like Berlin Alexanderplatz and 13 Moons. Unlike with Antonioni and Tarkovsky, focusing on masterpieces/one-offs is antithetical to appreciating Fassbinder and comprehending his overall thrust as an artist.

Werewolf by Night

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#24 Post by Werewolf by Night » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:39 am

liam fennell wrote:I love Rainer more than just about any artist
"Rainer." You two must have been very close. He only ever let me call him Fassy.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 740 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

#25 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:42 am

Excuse you, there's only one Fassy

Image

Post Reply