Clearly, the director was awash in his fantasies about lesbianism.
Stream The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
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A lesbian love triangle becomes a schema of sexual power plays in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s most harshly stylized and perhaps most significant film.
Bitter Tears offers a sensory feast that’s expanded on by the elaborate dialogue, which is poetic even as translated into English, and by the astonishingly sensual and fluid movements of the actors and the camera.
The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo
It functions reasonably well as a straightforward, agonized melodrama, but it’s first and foremost a master class—co-taught by famed cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (Goodfellas, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Quiz Show), who got his start with Fassbinder—in the dynamic visual use of a constricted space, and proof that a tiny budget is no excuse.
One of Fassbinder's best works, an incredible melodrama that harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood classics he is referencing, such as the work of Douglas Sirk, while still pushing the boundaries and telling a new, vital, and at times shocking story.