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MOVIES (LFF 2022): Peter von Kant - Review

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An accompanying piece to Petra Von Kant, this is the ever reliable Ozon making another ever reliable film. An amusing and bold reimagining of Fassbinder’s classic that’s as much a tribute to the every day service workers of the industry as it is a critique of the director’s ego and the so-called auteur theory.

The film focuses on the ego of the director and his so-called masterpieces about the working class and when he is infact, a nightmare person himself. This director is Peter von Kant himself, played by Denis Ménochet, mourning the loss of a lover when a new hot young actor enters his life seeking opportunity - Khalil Ben Gharbia's Amir, who is taken under his wing - true love, or just opportunity? It's hard to say - and it quickly turns into a game of actor and director playing each other's strings. It starts ideally when they move in together but doesn't last long - and the film pulls down that illusion in its emotionally charged second half.

Denis Ménochet's excellent performance as Peter makes this a worthy success - improved upon by your knowledge of Fassbinder - if you're an Ozon fan who hasn't seen a Fassbinder movie what are you doing? It's not a stretch to call Ozon the heir; he's been solidly making at least two four out of five star movies each year for the past twenty years. Nobody matches Ozon's output and Peter von Kant feels entirely different from his last venture Everything Went Fine, different again from Summer of 85. It's a towering critique of inflated toxic masculinity and the clash of male egos - a brutal takedown of the movie industry. When Isabelle Adjani's Sidone, a brilliantly talented actor, enters the fray - Peter von Kant treads into Official Competition territory - it's meta and it revels in it - and both films make a great pairing together.

For all the focus that said on the actors it's telling that the film's true star doesn't even make the poster - the ever tolerant, all-seeing, all-knowing Karl, who goes loyally through one of the most hellish service jobs in the world. I'd have quit day one. But I am so glad he didn't, as that ending is so satisfying on so many levels. Bravo Stefan Crepon, who tells us everything without a single word.

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