“For me, it’s a movie about love”

NAAA longtime admirer of German filmmaker and playwright Fassbinder, François Ozon adapted “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” in his own way, changing the gender of the characters and composing a mirror that work which is also a cinematic award. Peter (Denis Ménochet), is no longer Petra, a fashion designer, but a famous director. Under the eyes of Karl, his deaf servant (Stefan Crepon), he falls in love with the young Amir (Khalil Gharbia) who is introduced to him by his friend Sidonie (Isabelle Adjani).

How your film was born ?

He was born out of captivity. Like many directors and people, I was shocked and thought we might be forced to confine filming …

NAAA longtime admirer of German filmmaker and playwright Fassbinder, François Ozon adapted “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” in his own way, changing the gender of the characters and composing a mirror that work which is also a cinematic award. Peter (Denis Ménochet), is no longer Petra, a fashion designer, but a famous director. Under the eyes of Karl, his deaf servant (Stefan Crepon), he falls in love with the young Amir (Khalil Gharbia) who is introduced to him by his friend Sidonie (Isabelle Adjani).

How your film was born ?

He was born out of captivity. Like many directors and people, I was shocked and thought we might be forced to film with small crews, and I remember “Bitter Tears of Peter von Kant” being a film I loved – also a text, because it is the first. and most of all a game. I started working on it. At the same time, I was a little scared because it was a cult act and there was no reason to adapt it other than to do something else with it. I immediately thought of changing the sexes of the main characters. I had an intuition that this story was autobiographical, and talking to Juliane Lorenz, Fassbinder’s last wife who was also his editor, she confirmed to me that she was talking about her love affair with Günther Kaufmann, one of her favorite actors. It set me apart. I told myself that I would be like a theater director taking a classic, Chekhov or Proust, to give his interpretation and show himself in it …


François Ozon: “For Fassbinder, love is colder than death”.

AFP

Why not change the weather as well?

I fear that by adapting it to the present, we will keep our noses up on these topics of influence, domination, and so on. However, the distance paradoxically allows for more fact and irony as well. And then I really liked the 1970s. Basically, I wanted to have fun.

Did Fassbinder treat those around him like you Peter?

He abused everyone! He is an ogre with a troop around him and distributes tasks as he pleases. Karl’s character (the helper and servant Peter abused, editor’s note) was inspired by the musician Fassbinder who was one of his assistants and lovers. One day, Fassbinder said to him: “Hey, make the music for the film”, and that’s how he became his musician. A good musician.

Peter (Denis Ménochet), a famous director, falls in love with the young Amir (Khalil Gharbia)


Peter (Denis Ménochet), a famous director, falls in love with the young Amir (Khalil Gharbia)

Carole Bethuel

Moved to the world of cinema, “Peter von Kant” became a true reverence for the seventh art and a MOVIES in the illusion of love …

For me it’s a film about love, but for Fassbinder love is cooler than death. He does not believe in love. I said to myself that when love is to be discussed, love of work should also be discussed, especially since for Fassbinder, work and life are intertwined. From the moment I talk about love of work, I have to talk about cinema. Godard said: “How could Fassbinder not have died at the age of 37? When we did the whole German cinema part… ”He said it as if his films had killed him. But Hanna Schygulla confirmed to me that Fassbinder died in the despair of love. Work, on the contrary, saved him. In a way, I want to say that working saved her while Petra von Kant didn’t save fashion. Here my end is more optimistic than Fassbinder.

You ask Denis Ménochet for an interpretation of the text, between excess and sincerity …

This is the story of a love. So, it was a tragedy, and from there everything became theater and above. When you’re not the one in love, you’ll find it weird. This is why it takes all the time to pass from his own despair to his laughter. But that seemed so nice to me because he was able to move people while laughing.

I can’t believe I have a toxic grip. I don’t have money, but even if we argue, I don’t feel sadism “

He was also happy with his suffering …

Yes, she has a drama queen part. Like a teenager walking around listening to sad songs.

Is blocked desire the poison of your inspiration?

I don’t know, I’m not in the analysis. There are links between the stories I tell of course. There, what interested me most was talking about influence. From the transfer of feeling as well. At first, Peter clearly had power over this young man whom he seduced thanks to his social status, thanks to his camera, and then things broke. The muse released himself and regained his freedom.

Professionally, is this something that worries you?

Well, I really don’t like that kind of relationship with my artists. I can’t believe I have a toxic grip. I’m a bit cash, but even though we argue, I don’t experience sadism. In any case, sadism doesn’t come naturally to me and I prefer to work in collusion. After all, when I face a masochist, I answer it. There is no one way to direct the actors. We will adapt to everything. I didn’t direct Denis Ménochet like I did when I directed Hanna Schygulla or Isabelle Adjani.

Precisely, when did you think of Isabelle Adjani?

It was an unattainable dream, I have known him for a long time but he always refuses my offer to him and then he accepts. Either way, who’s to say you’re not right. If there is no desire on his side, mine will disappear. There, what I liked was that Isabelle talked to me about the script in general. He didn’t tell me about his role, which remained secondary. She really likes what the film is about, what it says about control, about love. I think it resonates with her, she knows this kind of passion, she herself has a relationship with directors and she enjoys playing with her image.

Leave a Comment