Director François Ozon has had one thing of a lifelong inventive crush on Rainer Werner Fassbinder. An early profession breakthrough for Ozon got here with the mannered however amusing ménage-à-quatre Water Drops on Burning Rocks, primarily based on a stage play that Fassbinder wrote when he was nonetheless in his teenagers. Now Ozon consummates his ongoing flirtation with the German auteur together with his newest image, a gender-swapped transforming of Fassbinder’s 1972 movie The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.
French actor Denis Ménochet stars as Peter, a decadent movie director on the peak of his success and energy who falls for Amir (Khalil Ben Gharbia), the younger, staggeringly stunning boy who wafts into Peter’s residence (the movie takes place solely inside Peter’s house) because the visitor of Peter’s finest good friend, Sidonie (Isabelle Adjani).
Duplicating the theatrical construction of Fassbinder’s unique, the movie unfolds in a sequence of acts, throughout which the connection between Peter and Amir sours and the facility dynamic shifts. In the meantime, Peter’s mute, infatuated assistant Karl (Stefan Crepon) is tortured, but additionally barely thrilled, by his boss’s autocratic cruelty.
It’s satisfying sufficient, however Peter von Kant is a curiously insubstantial adjunct that trades a number of the swirling, savage currents of melodrama of the unique – which positioned a feminine clothier fairly than a male film-maker on the centre of the intrigue – for a frothy, flippant archness. The casting of the meaty, magnetic Ménochet, nevertheless, is sensible: his resemblance to Fassbinder provides a self-referential layer to the drama.
On Curzon Home Cinema from 23 December; in cinemas from 30 December