Without a doubt Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant is a masterpiece. In this new and unexpected German comedy (yes, another one!), a group of filmmakers inexplicably decide they want to adapt Bitter Tears for TV. The result is an immensely enjoyable improvised comedy of errors that delights by constructing, and then deconstructing, its layers of dramaturgical artifice.
Just days before they must begin filming, the production company are still looking for someone to play Petra von Kant. On comes Gerwin (Andreas Lust), an unknown audition reader helping actors run lines. A bizarre series of events leads to Gerwin himself being incomprehensibly cast as Petra.
In recounting Fassbinder’s affair with actor Günther Kauffman from the perspective of female actors, the autobiographical Bitter Tears reversed the genders of its characters. In Casting’s film-within-a-film, genders are re-reversed – for an absurdist comedy, there is a lot about Casting that is highly complex.
Like R.W. Fassbinder, Wackerbarth has worked as an actor as well as a director (he appeared in Toni Erdmann as Coach Leopold). He clearly understands the demands of the casting process well and there is a lot about costume and artifice that is well developed in this film. Petra’s character is a fashion designer who wants to escape her fame, whereas Gerwin’s character is a nobody desperate for recognition.
While every character is playing a part, their performances are made to be so transparent that we explore the fascinating intricacies of their psychologies as they unfold. Although it isn’t necessary to enjoy the film, we recommend watching Bitter Tears first.
With complexities that could be missed on a single viewing, this is one to watch repeatedly. Casting is not just a funny film, but a tribute to the work of one of the world’s greatest filmmakers.
CAST: Toby Ashraf, Milena Dreißig, Judith Engel
DIRECTOR: Nicolas Wackerbarth
WRITERS: Nicolas Wackerbarth, Hannes Held
SYNOPSIS: Casting takes a fearless look at the interplay of human relationships and power games within the TV and film industry during an attempt to remake R.W. Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant for TV.[TRAILER FORTHCOMING]