Tuesday, June 21, 2016

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

This week on Hit me with your best shot, we took a foray into the New German Cinema movement, which lasted roughly from 1962 to 1982. This renaissance in German cinema propelled several talented filmmakers into international acclaim, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the director of this week's chosen film - "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant". Starring Margit Carstensen in a juicy role as the titular character, it's a rather talky film about a fashion designer lamenting her failed relationships.

And indeed, within the course of the film we witness her endure yet another failed relationship as a young beauty named Karin Thimm (played by the incomparable Hanna Schygulla) enters her life and absolutely upends it. By the end of the film, Petra is a broken shell of her former self. And this gin-soaked climax contains my pick for Best Shot, emphasizing Fassbinder's strong skill in staging characters within a frame.

In the shot below, we effectively see all the film's characters - if you include the doll who represents Karin - towering over a subdued Petra. Not only does it showcase the all-female cast, but it also includes the sight of the "Midas and Bacchus" painting, providing the setting's only male imagery (and perhaps even a reminder of Petra's other failed relationships). It's such an effective and revealing scene about the all-consuming power of desire, thanks in no small part to Michael Ballhaus' cinematography.

Click below for my favourite shot...

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