Francois Ozon’s ‘Peter Von Kant’ to Open Berlin Film Festival

The Berlin Film Festival has its opening film in François Ozon’s “Peter von Kant.”

The film, which stars Denis Menochet, Isabelle Adjani and Hanna Schygulla, is part of the fest’s International Competition and will have its world premiere on Feb. 10 at the Berlinale Palast. Variety revealed on Tuesday that the festival is planning to go ahead as an in-person event, and organizers provided further details of the plan on Wednesday.

“We are beyond thrilled to welcome back François Ozon to the festival and are happy to launch our next edition with his new film,” said Berlin artistic director Carlo Chatrian. “For this year’s opening, we were looking for a film that could bring lightness and verve into our somber daily lives. ‘Peter von Kant’ is a theatrical tour de force around the concept of lockdown. In the hands of Ozon, the kammerspiel becomes the perfect container for love and jealousy, seduction and humour — indeed, everything that makes life and art so entangled.”

“Peter von Kant” is described as a “free interpretation” of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 film “Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant” (“The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant”). An official description from the festival reads: “Turning the character of Petra von Kant into a man and a filmmaker, superbly played by Denis Menochet, François Ozon pays tribute not only to the original film but to Fassbinder himself, and, in doing so, also delivers with his usual irony a very personal, playful self-portrait.”

Ozon is back in competition at Berlin for the sixth time. Twenty years prior, his ensemble cast for “8 Femmes” won a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution. The film will be screened this year as part of the festival’s homage to Isabelle Huppert. In 2019, Ozon was awarded with the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize for “Grâce à Dieu” (“By the Grace of God”).

“It is such a pleasure and honour to return to Berlin, where I only have great memories, 22 years after the premiere of ‘Water Drops on Burning Rocks,’ adapted from Rainer Werner Fassbinder,” said Ozon. “The Berlin International Film Festival is the ideal place to discover ‘Peter von Kant,’ which celebrates my attachment as a French director to German culture. Thank you for the selection.”

Berlin will hold a truncated festival from Feb. 10-16. Organizers said on Wednesday that cinemas would be at 50% capacity, and that the festival would go without any parties or receptions.