The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant has been reimagined with a radical gender twist in French auteur Francois Ozon’s latest film—Peter Von Kant. Peter Von Kant is writer-director’s François Ozon’s gender-flipped reimagining of 1972’s The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant by queer German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder, whose life was depicted in a 2021 biopic Enfant Terrible. The film’s release is coincided to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the beloved German film. The film had a limited release on Friday, September 2, 2022 in New York (IFC Center), Los Angeles (Laemmle Royal), San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle, followed by additional markets. It can now be streamed on Amazon Prime.
The original film had an all-female cast and told the story of Petra, a prominent lesbian fashion designer in a sadomasochistic relationship with her female assistant, who falls in love with an aloof and beautiful young woman. Acclaimed writer-director Ozon (Swimming Pool, 8 Women) reverses the main characters’ genders of West German writer-director Fassbinder’s audacious film, with Petra now becoming Peter (Denis Menochet) as Peter Von Kant, evoking the character of Fassbinder himself. In an homage to the late, brilliant but troubled underground director, the high-strung and sophisticated Sapphic Petra is now the bearish leather daddy, Peter.
Isabelle Adjani plays Peter’s glamorous actress muse Sidonie, who introduces Peter to Amir (Khalil Gharbia), a sexy 23-year-old. Amir casts an instant spell on Peter who invites him back the next night to discuss a career in acting and a possible role in his next production. Stéfan Crépon portrays Karl, the silent assistant whom Peter enjoys tormenting. As another element of Ozon’s homage to Fassbinder, Hanna Schygulla, the original object of Petra’s desire, now plays Peter’s mother.
As in the original, which was based on Fassbinder’s own one-set stage play, Ozon confines the majority of the film to Peter’s flamboyant 1970s apartment, supported by Katia Wyszkopf’s expressive set design, itself echoing the over-the-top theatrical set of The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant.
Watch a clip, in French, here:
Watch Peter Von Kant on Amazon Prime.