29 July 2022.
The one worthwhile release this week – great director Silvio Soldini’s IL GIARDINO DEL REY – will have to be reviewed next week, as I was in Verbier for its press screening.
In the meantime, catch up with these excellent ones still on our screens, if you have not yet seen them:
EL BUEN PATRON ****
DOWNTON ABBEY II ***1/2
THE DUKE ***1/2
EN CORPS ***
PETER VON KANT ***
COMPETITION OFFICIEL ***
(Do look up their schedules on cineman.ch)
PETER VON KANT ***1/2 (vo French)
A film by French director François Ozon is always an event, and his works are usually in top festivals such as Cannes. This one opened the 2022 Berlin film festival. As an auteur, he is known for the elegance of his works, twisted tales concerning relationships often pertaining to homosexuality, and his masterful direction of actors in such films as “Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes”, “Potiche” or “Frantz”. At 54, he has made more than 20 feature films since 1998, having started ten years before with numerous short films. That makes it almost a film a year, like Woody Allen.
In this latest, a fascinating huis clos in the sumptuous Berlin apartment of Peter von Kant, a film director, we are witness to the power play that is Kant’s rule of thumb. He has a young secretary/butler, Karl (Stefan Crepon), whom he mistreats terribly. He has a muse, a beautiful actress past her prime, played by Isabelle Adjani, whom he dotes upon. And then enters the young, arrogant Amir (Khalil Ben Gharbia), whom he falls for immediately and who soon moves in with him and becomes his protégé and his adored lover. The juxtaposition of these relationships and the slow shift of power and desire are beautifully constructed by Ozon, loosely adapted from one of his idol’s works, “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant”, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 film. But Ozon has switched genders here, making the hero a male, different from the original all-female cast. He has kept the theatricality, but given it more dark humor mingled with the pain. And as a tip of the hat, he has brought in Hanna Schygulla, Fassbinder’s favorite actress, as Kant’s mother.
Denis Menochet (revealed in Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” and Ozon’s brilliant “Grâce à Dieu”) is magnetic and overwhelming as the powerful yet tragic hero. He perfectly personifies the anxieties, needs and egocentricities that come with ambition and fame. This is a tour de force of mood and performance.
THOR – LOVE AND THUNDER *1/2
The first Thor, back in 2011, was an excellent sci-fi action pic, but then it had Kenneth Branagh as director. The third one, “Thor: Ragnarok” was successfully turned into a great action comedy by Taika Waititi, well written and exciting, with a hilarious Jeff Goldblum. It was a hoot, like the “Guardians of the Galaxy”. This one, also by Waititi, just seems to be pitching all the Marvel characters without any real soul or a convincing scenario.
Leave it for the 15 year-olds.
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Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.