Director François Ozon and his lead actor Denis Ménochet must have had a ball together crafting this wickedly campy, thoroughly cinematic, gender-reversed take on R.W. Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. Ménochet plays successful film director Peter—not coincidentally the spitting image of RWF—who falls hard for the 22-year-old Amir (Khalil Ben Gharbia) and then suffers the ultimate heartbreak when Amir, now a successful actor, ditches him. All Peter’s petty jealousies, his vanity, and his possessiveness provide ammunition for Ménochet’s monster of a performance, while scene-stealing turns from his mute, long-suffering butler, Karl (Stefan Crepon, who seems to glide through scenes like he’s on roller skates), his mother, Rosemarie (Fassbinder regular Hanna Schygulla), and his former muse/lover Sidonie (Isabelle Adjani) augment this stylish chamber piece.
‘Both homage and critique, “Peter von Kant” astutely gets under the skin of the lesbian-themed original, ekes out new resonances and proves both authentically Fassbinderian and altogether Ozonesque in its ironic sensibilities.’—Jonathan Romney, Screen