Film review and summary of the film by Peter von Kant (2022)

Ozon plays with this notion throughout “Peter van Kant”. An early scene from Fassbinder’s film where the heroine is visited by her cousin Sidonie (Katrin Schaake) is re-enacted so that Peter is visited by a cousin of the same name, but it is played by Isabelle Adjani, who wears a wig vaguely reminiscent of one featured in Fassbinder’s film. Amir appears to be a composite of two important men in Fassbinder’s love life. One is El Hedi Ben Salem, a Moroccan Berber who had a tumultuous and often violent relationship with the director and starred in three of his films, including “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul”. The other is Armin Meier (note the first name, as well as how the full name sounds when you quickly say the two words together), an orphaned ex-butcher whose relationship with Fassbinder was the partial inspiration for an episode of ” Germany in autumn”. ”

That “Petra von Kant” was itself a tactically opaque elaboration of Fassbinder’s own experiences (as it was, and is the case with all playwrights to some extent) creates an ouroboros effect in the mind of the viewer aware of Fassbinder. The project seems to devour and digest its inspiration as it unfolds, perhaps in an attempt to lead us back to where “Petra von Kant” came from – although, again, who can tell when the director holds his cards so close to his mid-70s vintage, probably a velvet and beige waistcoat? What’s dropped in the viewer’s lap when the final credits are a question mark is exactly what Ozon seems to prefer, and that’s not a bad thing.

The actors are admirably engaged, especially Gharbia, who never telegraphs many hidden layers that Amir will eventually reveal to us; and Ménochet, who captures a bit of Fassbinder’s meaty energy without trying to imitate. (He’s an altogether more convincing Fassbinder-as-dramatic-construct than Oliver Masucci in Oskar Röhler’s “Enfant Terrible” (who, oddly enough, also indulged in armchair psychoanalysis of Fassbinder without taking the literal spirit, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and-then-he-did-this approach.

The fact that hardly anyone is making films like this at the moment is an argument in favor of seeking out “Peter von Kant” – although viewers should consider themselves warned that they’ll likely get more out of it if they do. spend a lot of time, and that such a concern is probably the furthest thing from Ozon’s mind.

About Wesley V. Finley

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