Peter von Kant – Once upon a time in the cinema

Sulphurous behind closed doors

Bringing a play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder to the screen for the second time, François Ozon certainly had no idea that he was going to offer us such a masterpiece. Because this peter von kant, which he wanted to produce on his own to be more free, is unlike anything he had created so far and it is undoubtedly the film in which he bares his heart in every sense of the word . As for Water drops on hot stones, released in 2000, and which François Ozon had adapted from a play that Rainer Werner Fassbinder had written at the age of 19 and never edited or filmed, the theatrical structure is very present, especially through the camera of ‘a flat. But, unlike Water drops on hot stonesthe treatment of the film he adapted from Bitter Tears by Petra von Kant is quite different. Through editing, he has already succeeded in giving rhythm to the confinement of the characters in the artist’s apartment, recreated in the Paris suburbs in a former orphanage. Moreover, even if we find the accents of the original play and film, François Ozon has already changed the text to make it something less literary.

Character reversal

In addition, Petra has become Peter and all the female characters in this film which depicted the life of a famous fashion designer and her lesbian universe have become men, starting with Karl, the martyred and mute assistant instead. of Marlene and by Amir, the object of the desires of Peter, a handsome young Arab man who has nothing of the character of Ali interpreted by El Hedi ben Salem in All the others are called Ali (1974) who would have been the lover of RW Fassbinder and from whom François Ozon originally wanted to draw inspiration. Moreover, Peter, interpreted by Denis Ménochet at the best of his art, in fact plays the role of Fassbinder and the whole film suddenly oscillates between meditation on love and the impossibility for man to feel loved in return and reflection on the world of cinema and creation. It seems that the whole film is inhabited by the soul of the director who, as we know, had a tragic life and unhappy love affairs between despair, drugs and celebrity. All of this can be found in the wonderfully lit film by Manu Dacosse, in sets created by Katia Wyszkop and the sublime costumes of Pascaline Chavanne who must have had a lot of fun dressing Isabelle Adjani, in the role of a cocaine-addicted Fassbinderian actress, and looking for panther briefs like the one Gérard Depardieu wears in Evening dress claimed by Denis Ménochet. Of course, the film is served by the talent of amazing actors: we have already mentioned Denis Ménochet, a regular at Ozon, but we will not forget either Khalil Gharbia, a discovery in the role of Amir and Stefan Crepon in that of Karl, the scapegoat of the filmmaker who will eventually leave him.

Isabelle Adjani and Hanna Schygulla as genius guest stars

Of course, the genius idea is to have invited Isabelle Adjani for the role of star Sidonie Von Grassenabb and, of course, Hanna Schygulla, the Fassbinderian star par excellence, for the role of Karl’s mother, she who very well known Fassbinder’s mother and knew her work and her person down to the smallest detail. The whole invokes and perfectly evokes the world of the famous Bavarian, but much less sordid and desperate because Ozon has managed to breathe into it a bit of the French boulevardier spirit, enough fantasy and a lot of endless search for beauty and melancholy no doubt inherited from Charles Baudelaire, notably through the use of songs: by Cora Vaucaire (Like in the theater), Where Throw Tötet was er liebt (Everyone kills what they love) sung in German by Isabelle Adjani, and certainly the one that will enter the memory of spectators never to leave, the magnificent In my roomperformed by The Walker Brothers, words and music by Preto Pedro Joaquin Espinosa, Lee Julien Pockriss and Paul Vance.

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Peter von Kant – Once upon a time in the cinema

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