Peter von Kant
François Ozon channels his idol Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s life and art with this striking account of a love triangle.
Peter (Denis Ménochet) is an acclaimed filmmaker with a healthy appetite for life. It’s 1972 and he is at the height of his powers. His assistant Karl (Stefan Crépon) barely hides his feelings for his employer, who shows him no kindness or respect. When Peter’s friend, the singer Sidonie (Isabelle Adjani), pays a visit, she brings along her young companion Amir (Khalil Gharbia), knowing that Peter will fall for him. Soon enough, the two are a couple. But a short passage of time finds the relationship imploding and the emotional shrapnel scarring everyone, from Peter’s mother Rosemary (Hanna Schygulla) and Sidonie to his mostly neglected teen daughter Gabrielle (Aminthe Audiard).
Ozon previously adapted Fassbinder with Water Drops on Burning Rocks (2000), a cinematic reworking of a 1966 play by the German artist. This film is a reworking of Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant which was made in the year Ozon’s is set, but it revolved around a lesbian love triangle between a fashion designer, her mute assistant and a young protégée. By changing gender, Ozon’s drama directly links the film’s narrative to what was believed to be a fictionalised account of events in Fassbinder’s own life. And like the film it is adapted from, Peter von Kant is driven by the powerful performances of its cast.
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