Petra, a high-end fashion designer, falls for the beautiful young Karin and takes her into her home, only to feel abused and rejected when she doesn’t love her back. As Petra will admit by the end, hers is more a story about control than love, or how obsession and possessiveness can lead us to confuse the two. Fassbinder confessed that the dynamics in Petra’s immaculate funhouse of narcissism and self-loathing were autobiographical, and so I was particularly fascinated by the character of Petra’s long-suffering servant Marlene. Marlene never leaves the room and never speaks, taking the brunt of Petra’s whims and temper, or observing the mayhem from the sidelines. When a humbled Petra promises to change her ways and restart their relationship as equals, Marlene packs her bags and gets out of town. YIKES.
The Bri-terion Collection
I’m loving the Criterion Channel streaming service, so every week I’m going to share my favorite new find.