07-11-26, Notes - emotional situation - on one hand she...

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Film Comment, “DRESS CODE: YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR IN THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT” The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant is all about dressing. It's at the film's center in both the literal sense of clothing the body and in the metaphoric sense of clothing as identity. Self-fashioning and artificiality might be the way of the world. The exaggerated accoutrements worn by the women in the film function as tools to construct femininity in service of an investigation of melodramatic power relations. the film's women were all intended to represent men from the director's circle, with Petra standing in for RWF himself. But the pants from the original ballet's costume are transformed here into the tight skirt that constrains Petra's movements so that she can only stumble ridiculously across the room. Her costume reflects her paradoxical
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Unformatted text preview: emotional situation - on one hand she enjoys strength and a dominant role, on the other she is caught and bound by her own desire. The key to Petra and Marlene's puzzling relationship can also be found in the contrast between their dresses, makeup, and hair. Fassbinder explained Marlene's departure as her intrinsic inability to cope with freedom: "Marlene leaves because she had accepted her role as the oppressed and exploited one and because in reality she is frightened by the freedom offered to her." Petra's domination is as impossible without Marlene's subordination as her sadistic exhibitionism is without Marlene's masochistic voyeurism. In effect, Marlene and Petra are competing for masochistic subordination. A very particular concept of love lies behind it: to love means to serve....
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This note was uploaded on 05/02/2008 for the course CNPH 21003 taught by Professor C.crane during the Fall '07 term at Ithaca College.

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