West Germany, 1972, 125 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Not Rated, In German with English subtitles, Janus Films

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

Friday, 9/16 thru Thursday, 9/22

"One of the great films of the decade!"
The Village Voice

"A lucid, beautiful work of innovation."
— Penelope Gilliatt, The New Yorker


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 first and best-loved films from 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 true Fassbinder affair, featuring exquisitely claustrophobic cinematography by Michael Ballhaus who supervised this restoration, and full-throttle performances by an all-female cast.

François Ozon is one of French cinema’s most prolific and celebrated filmmakers. Remarkably, 2022 is the 50th anniversary of three of his favorite filmmakers’ essential works. With this series Ozon and the Early Subversives, we invite you to watch his latest feature, Peter Von Kant, and discover or revisit the aesthetic, cultural, and historical significance of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant and Luis Buñuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (both in new 4K restorations) and John Waters' Pink Flamingos in glorious 35mm.

Check out the rest of our Ozon and the Early Subversives program!