power, ambition, despair...

film diary

23 March 09

Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (1972)

R. W. Fassbinder, Dir.

Karin: It’s all so complicated.

Petra: No… Nothing is simple. Nothing at all. You have to understand what humility is.

Karin: Humility?

Petra: You see… everyone has his own theory of the world. I believe you have to have humility to be able to bear what you know. I have humility in my work or in respect of the money I can earn or the many things that are stronger than myself.

Karin: I think ‘humility’ is a strange word. It reminds me of kneeling and praying.


A devastating film. The cinematography by Michael Ballhaus is a marvel. Making so much out of so little. Each performance, each frame, each sound … is perfect for Fassbinder’s vision of a confined world. I’ve seen the film fifteen, twenty times, but I’ve never found the bottom of its well.

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