First of all, where are my people? Come on world, or ok, I’ll go smaller, Sarasota. Ok, smaller still, Ringling College Film Majors? I’d really like to see more intellectual and artsy people at Burns Court.
For Peter Von Kant, I had a small passionate few who stayed for the talk back who I really appreciated, but I think it’s the misguided bias that David Brooks talked about in his NY Time Op Ed a few weeks back: that people overestimate how awkward events like talk backs will be. Giving your opinion and listening to others is an important component to community, so I hope the number of attendees will go up.
Ok, now to the actual movie review: After studying Fassbinder (the story’s original playwright) and Ozon (the director and adapted screenwriter), I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Von Kant.
The cinematography by Manuel Dacosse spun a one loft setting into magical romance. The lighting from sultry low lights as Peter seduces Amir to the bright light of morning symbolizing stark reality and romantic demise was perfection. When Peter lights one of Amirs wall sized photos ablaze, we clearly see the fall out of obsession.
The acting was terrific with two exceptions: Denis Menochet as Peter was excellent. An addict can either be totally tragic or comic and Menochet rides that fine line to keep mystique enabling the audience to decide. Likewise, his friend Sidonie played by Isabella Adjani is again done on the balance beam of shallow actress diva and someone vulnerable and simply a byproduct of show business. Peter’s emotionally abused man servant, Stefan Crepon, does more with his eyes than the daughter (the only acting detractor) and he has zero dialogue! The lover, Khalil Ben Gharbia, is a mixed bag. He certainly has the pretty boy hair, but I had a hard time believing his immaturity. Last, but certainly not least, one of the grand dames of German cinema who played the lover in Fassbinder’s original 1972, Hanna Schygulla, played Peter’s mother here and stole the movie. Her maternal love and patience exuded from the screen.
Peter Von Kant raises many important questions about relationships, in regards to power dynamics, raw honesty vs. maintaining mystery, is religious faith ultimately more important than human love? So again, I ask you, what is more exhilarating then exploring such topics? Bless the Sarasota Film Society and other indie theaters who support foreign films.