From 1971 to 1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder directed 18 films or mini-series. The titles include Beware of a Holy Whore (1971), The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972), World on a Wire (1973), Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972). Fassbinder’s four year run may be right there at the top, alongside Steven Spielberg’s 1981-84 and Ingmar Bergman’s 1957-60. And just outside this four year window, he would add to his resume Fox and His Friends (1975), Chinese Roulette (1976), The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), and his final film before his untimely early death, Querelle (1982).
1972 was 50 years ago—making it the 50th anniversary of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (alongside the five other films/series he made that year). And it’s one of the shining gems of his godly run. The eponymous character is a fashion designer who doesn’t seem to do her own work, Petra von Kant (Margit Carstensen). The recently divorced von Kant now pursues women more than men, with her eyes set on the young and beautiful Karin Thimm (Hanna Schygulla). The entirety of the female-only cast is excellent, and Schygulla is no exception; she steals the middle third of the runtime.
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