Peter von Kant (2022)

Denis Ménochet, Isabelle Adjani, Khalil Ben Gharbia, Hanna Schygulla,
Peter Von Kant, a successful, famous director, lives with his assistant Karl, whom he likes to mistreat and humiliate. Through the great actress Sidonie, he meets and falls in love with Amir, a handsome young man of modest means.
  • 6.4 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2022-09-26 Added:
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Writer:
  • François Ozon, Director:
  • Producer:

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5 / 10

Peter von Kant

Not my favorite ozon. The film tries to merge a fictional account of fassbinders own chaotic relationships and the actual plot of petra von kant by changing the gender of Hanna's character and changing petra von kant with peter von kant (who is basically fassbinder himself). This however does not work as good for a number of reasons. More relevant to me is the sense that the power relations between the couple in fassbinders original was more of a professional success kind of thing whils in this one is more like peter von kant cannot deal with his boyfriend free love ethics. That makes the film seem strangelly (considering ozons previous films and the source material) monogamous. I was looking forward to this one because i really liked water drops on burning rocks but i left the theater a little bit disappointed. It is not a bad film by any means it just felt kind of colorless.

6 / 10

Fassbinder Adaption "Peter Von Kant" written by Gregory Mann

"Peter Von Kant"

Peter Von Kant (Dennis Ménochet), a successful, famous director, lives with his assistant Karl (Stefan Crepon), whom he likes to mistreat and humiliate. Through the great actress Sidonie (Isabelle Adjani), he meets and falls in love with Amir (Khalil Ben Gharhia), a handsome young man of modest means. He offers to share his apartment and help Amir break into the world of cinema.

For Fassbinder, the world of fashion was merely a context. Petra's work is not developed or analyzed. We only know that she's successful, that she needs to draw new designs, and that her assistant is there to help her. His work is how he meets others, discovers them, elevates them. Amir reveals himself before the camera, not just to Peter but also to the viewer. Suddenly we see him differently, he becomes an actor, which also makes us doubt his sincerity. Is his story true, or is it merely calculated to move Peter, to stimulate his desire to create? When Peter seizes the camera, his appetite to film Amir is clear. That movement plunges him into the creative desire of Pygmalion for Galatea. Sidonie is also a variation on the theme of Pygmalion and his muse. Peter loves and hates her simultaneously. 'I preferred the actress to the woman', he says. In Fassbinder, the character is merely a confidante; a best friend for Petra to bounce of off. We imagine Peter as a big drama queen, always making too much of things. In the Fassbinder film there's a queer side, with the women overplaying their femininity. Peter is forever drowning in his emotions. He's excessive, overly emphatic. And more often than not, he's high on alcohol or drugs. The trick is to embrace the theatricality of the character. The color and stylization work characterizes his final period on material from his first period.

Peter wants to take Amir in, protect him, be his Pygmalion. Peter falls in love not just with Amir but also with the creature he could shape Amir into. And when Amir ultimately escapes him, Peter is riddled with jealousy. And again, all his theories about freedom in relationships come tumbling down. When Peter meets Amir, there's a sexual fantasy for sure, but he's also found someone who is as alone as he's, whose life is broken. Beyond the physical and sexual attraction. Peter ends up alone, but he has his memories of Amir on film. Exploring the theme of love through the prism of cinema is moving, especially right now, with changing attitudes towards going to the movies, falling theatre attendance, the emergence of platforms. This film "Peter von Kant" is perhaps more optimistic than Fassbinder's. Though Peter ends up alone and isolated, his eyes are open to his films, his imagination, fiction. He films Amir, he records his love. Creation and cinema save Peter.

The film is an adaptation of 'The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant'. Fassbinder originally wrote the story for the theatre. He made it into a film in 1972 when he was just 25 years old. He had recently discovered the Hollywood melodramas of Douglas Sirk, and used all the theatrical and cinematic artifices and mannerisms at his disposal to film his play about emotional dependence and the impossibility of loving as equals. Fassbinder's body of work, philosophy and vision of the world have always haunted us. His unbelievable creative energy fascinates us. The film centers around one of Fassbinder's passionate love affairs. In 'The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant', Fassbinder had turned his own unhappy love affair with one of his favorite actors, Günther Kaufmann, into a lesbian love story between a fashion designer and her model. The character of Karl is inspired by Peer Raben, who composed music for Fassbinder's films and was also his assistant. The film trades the world of fashion for the world of cinema and changes the gender of the three main characters. It's a way of betraying Fassbinder the better to find him, in a universal tale of passionate love. The story is more relevant than ever in the way it questions the power dynamics of domination in the creative arts, the Pygmalion/muse relationship.

'Water Drops on Burning Rocks' was consciously very theatrical, with an ironic detachment reminiscent of Fassbinder's cinema. This film wants to inject more empathy into a new version of 'The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant'. Maybe with age and experience we understand Fassbinder better, the way he sees life, creation and love right down to it's most monstruous aspects. Fassbinder is not a loveable filmmaker. His films are not loveable. But we feel a wide range of emotions towards Peter. To hate him one minute and find him touching, grotesque or endearing the next. He blends the intimate and the political in the most naked of ways, both literally and figuratively. The effect is at once pathetic, sincere and devastating. There's also a dash of boulevard in Fassbinder's work, but it's more Brechtian, there's more distancing. The film wsnts to highlight the emotional power of the text, bring the character's humanity and feelings to the fore, leave behind Fassbinder's little theatre of puppets in favor of flesh and blood characters. The bitter tears in Fassbinder's play and film are artificial, which is what makes them beautiful, both theatrically and cerebrally.

Written by Gregory Mann.

10 / 10

Mirror

Though I've never seen Fassbinder's original Bitter Tears, I don't really think I have to in order to enjoy Fran?ois Ozon's version. I loved just everything about it: the whole thing being very theatrical, the setting, the colours, the music, the texts and the silences (there's one character who doesn't speak at all but he's always there and he's fantastic!), but most of all I loved the grotesque-ness. I believe this is one of the best, classical means to express the vices of society and our human nature in general. Most of the characters in the movie, of course, are pathetic, hysterical, manipulative and violent but it is through this exaggeration that we understand that sometimes this picture is just a mirror for us to look at.

This film returned me to the basics of what a classical comedy should be. Great cast, impressive acting, gorgeous costumes and amazing photography.

9 / 10

Forget Fassbinder

This film works if the original source material is put to one side. Taking ' Peter von Kant ' and putting it into a modern context is in my opinion the best option, and also relates better to what is seen on the screen. I was fascinated by the tackiness of the decor, the mediocrity of the characters and above all a hint at the end of the film that this was all about the death of so-called quality cinema. Perhaps Ozon would disagree, but the scenario is excellent as long as it is put into the category of camp trash. Forget too that it is set in Cologne 1972. The content as I saw it was far more relevant to the trivialities of today's soap operas and mini-series. The final scene in the film made the film work for me, the trashy image of a third-rate actor turned into a ' star, ' and the tears in Peter's eyes are more for the death of the cinema, than the empty passion of a bisexual youth's love. Peter in this film is a director and Ozon must surely have been aware of the worst of them who trade in banalities, and work for the worst of reasons and for the highest amount of money. Denis Menochet is very good as Peter, and Isabelle Adjani as Sidonie as his friend and an actor for him is superficial to the hilt, and she is excellent playing her as such. There are no real feelings in this woman whatsoever. She is all facade, and so is Khalil Ben Garbia as the luxury grabbing rising ' star ' who Peter falls in love with. Hanna Schygulla as Peter's mother shows us the past, and of all the cast she is the most real. Evoking a tenderness and a love for others that surpasses the other's understanding. Then there is Stefan Crepon, extraordinary as the silent servant to Peter's whims and needs, and also his insults. He watches everything and represses his feelings until the penultimate scene. Without a word spoken he acts with his presence alone and his perceptive eyes. For me he was the best actor in the film. As for Ozon's direction it could be seen as being less than his best but seen as a reflection of the worst of today's cinema it is spot on. A film that will endure as a requiem for what we have lost in cinema as an art form, and a reminder in future years of the superficiality of our era.

6 / 10

Worth seeing once

I must say that, following all the male roles taken by women in, eg, modern interpretations of Shakespeare (will a man ever again be permitted to portray King Lear?), it makes a nice change to see a man take a female role, as Fran?ois Ozon adapts Rainer Werner Fassbinder's play/film/opera for a male lead. Denis Ménochet gives a good portrayal of the mercurial, self-indulgent film-maker in what turns out to be an at times uneven production.

A constant presence in the background is Karl, von Kant's assistant. Played by Stéfan Crépon, he has no lines but instead conveys his emotions by facial expression. This would be a difficult task for any actor, and at times Crépon over-does the eye acting as Karl gazes, hurt, at von Kant, following yet another example of his employer's disregard of his feelings. The other male character is Amir, object of von Kant's affections. In this role Khalil Gharbia provides the weakest performance of the film, at times too obviously acting even in such a mannered production as this.

The film was worth seeing once, but I doubt I will bother watching it again.