"PETER VON KANT" (2022, FRANÇOIS OZON)
The camera sees everything.
Someone gave me the advice not to see R.W. Fassbinder's Beware of a Holy Whore until I had seen more of his films. I did not heed that advice; it was approximately the 4th Fassbinder film I saw and I was lost.
Peter von Kant is perfect for the Fassbinder aficionado. Director François Ozon made Water Drops on Burning Rocks in 2000 based on an unproduced Fassbinder screenplay. We knew that Ozon appreciated Fassbinder: as a gay man and a cinéaste as well.
Ozon takes his Fassbinder appreciation to the next level here, imagining Petra in Petra von Kant as a man. And not just any man! "Peter" (Denis Ménochet) reflects R.W. Fassbinder himself and the men in his life while combining the set design of Petra von Kant. The film will definitely be more enjoyable if you've seen Petra and know at least a little something about Fassbinder. That is a shame, because a lot of people don't have the time to research Fassbinder before going into the movie.
It's noted in the credits that this film was liberally adapted from Petra von Kant and so it is, with the timeline of what happened in his life. Fassbinder was married to a woman, but did not have children. He met with Romy Schneider in Paris to potentially cast her in a film, but not until the late seventies (Peter starts off in 1972).
I have probably only seen Isabelle Adjani on-screen twice in the films One Deadly Summer and Bon Voyage and the rest of her available films on VHS, DVD, and streaming. So it was a treat. Her character, Sidonie, starts off very vain and shallow, but beautiful and tremendous. Thankfully, her character builds and she is given something substantial to work with toward the end. Her costumes are also magnificent.
Ozon included Fassbinder actress Hanna Schygulla to play Peter's mother. It's touching and fitting. Schygulla always brings the necessary humanity to a role.
Khalil Gharbia plays Amir Ben Salem, a young, fresh version of the actor El Hedi ben Salem who played Ali in the Fassbinder film, Fear Eats the Soul. Amir's relationship with Peter, along with the creepy, butleresque Karl (Stefan Crepon) provides for some interesting scenes. Ultimately, Karl is there for more than decoration and I love his character arc where he is able to stand up to Peter after he is abused for so long.
I'd definitely recommend the film, but there is so much information that is all out of order. Ozon and Fassbinder are both geniuses and masters, so perhaps just dive right in whether you're a fan of one or both or if they're new to you.
-Eggs for cake and whipped cream (requested)