With Peter von Kant, Isabelle Adjani plays for the first time under the direction of a director who adores actresses and who has directed the greatest: François Ozon. We caught up with the duo for an interview.
Francois Ozon has an infectious passion for actresses! Passion that we could see of course with the greatest success of his career, the irresistible 8 women 20 years ago (more than 3.5 million admissions for this 8-star cast), but also throughout his career. He directed Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Fanny Ardant, Ludivine Sagnier, Charlotte Rampling, or even more recently Sophie Marceau.
It’s no secret that some actresses have long mysteriously resisted François Ozon’s proposals, like Sophie Marceau who ended up collaborating with him for his penultimate feature film, Everything went wellreleased in 2021, or Isabelle Adjanithis year, after courting her for the first time 20 years ago.
This time, the meeting did indeed take place, on the film set of peter von kant which comes out this Wednesday, but also in front of our lens: the director François Ozon and the actress Isabelle Adjani have agreed to meet us as a duo, and in particular to discuss their very first meeting, which dates back more than 20 years!
Isabelle Adjani is an actress who creates a lot of desire, and which leaks, which slips between the hands
The director had thought of Isabelle Adjani from the shooting of under the sand, but it is said that the actress never received the script. It was finally Charlotte Rampling who took on this leading role for the filmmaker in 2001.
The first meeting took place in the early 2000s, during a dinner which followed a performance of the play The Lady of the Camellias at the Théâtre Marigny, as they entrust to our microphone.
“Isabelle Adjani is an actress who creates a lot of desire, and who flees, who slips into the hands of directors. I dreamed about it and I told myself that it might happen one day” explains François Ozon, delighted to have collaborated with the iconic actress, muse in particular of the cinema of François Truffaut. According to the actress, Ozon is from elsewhere “become a pure heir of François Truffaut“.
40 years later, a surprise return to music
We invite you to discover in video above our interview with the duo, and below another excerpt on a revelation that Isabelle Adjani made to us during our interview: her big return to music with a new complete album which will appear next spring, with many duos.
peter von kant tells the story of a famous successful director, played by Denis Ménochet, faithful to the cinema of Ozon, with whom this is his 3rd collaboration. The person he portrays lives with his assistant Karl (Stefan Crepon), whom he likes to mistreat. Thanks to the great actress Sidonie (Isabelle Adjani), he meets and falls in love with Amir (the revelation Khalil Gharbia), a young man of humble origins. He offers her to share his apartment and help her get into the cinema…
Note that Peter von Kant is a free adaptation of the play Petra von Kant’s Bitter Tears by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This play had already been the subject of a feature film directed by Fassbinder himself, in 1971.
A revelation and an actor faithful to the universe of Ozon
In addition to Isabelle Adjani who illuminates Peter von Kant with his appearances (notably musical), François Ozon’s new film confirms the talent of a young actor, recently noticed in the Netflix series The 7 lives of Léa (series put online at the end of March). Khalil Gharbia impresses in this role which required special physical preparation in order to develop his character over the years.
“I had a sports coachhe says to our microphone. There was a lot of muscle development. And in the physical language, in all this period of seduction, something was already happening with the dance, I had to be comfortable with this new body, these new muscles.”
I told myself that to find the character, you really had to go 300% in the text
One of the peculiarities and successes of Peter von Kant is to offer us characters with a lot of nuances, non-linear characters, who bring a lot of depth to the plot. In this regard, Denis Ménochet has very nice words for his on-screen partner, Khalil Gharbia: “The most beautiful character transformation is that of Khalil Gharbia. It was his first role. He arrived like that, he spread his wings and he transformed as the film went on because we shot in the timeline. And as for nuances, it really goes through Fassbinder’s text revisited by Ozon.”
Denis Ménochet, who will soon be in a totally opposite register with Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s very dark film, As Bestas, notably has some really great comedy sequences here, and seems to have pushed the comedy slider like never before. “I told myself that to find the character, you really had to go 300% into the text, push things further to discover the characterhe confirms to our microphone. This character is an ogre, pathetic as well as frightening. You had to push, push, push it all“, he adds.he link between the character of Peter and Karl (Stefan Crepon) lends itself enormously to comedy, because he torments him but it’s funny“. Denis Ménochet adds that this part of comedy in François Ozon’s film has him “recalled a movie that (he) adores Frankenstein Juniorwhich makes (him) laugh a lot“.
For Denis Ménochet, this is a third collaboration with François Ozon after Dans la maison and Grâce à dieu. This last film in this case has allowed the actor to establish a strong bond of trust. “Thank God has brought us all closer together“, he confides. François Ozon is “a very intelligent, prolific, style-changing director. He always surprises with what he does. He also surprises in his malice. He has a malice. He’s always one step ahead of everyone“, he summarizes with regard to the director. “He is a director who has a lot of cynicism and modesty at the same time; this cynicism creates certain humorous situations“, adds Khalil Gherbia.
Peter von Kant with Denis Ménochet, Khalil Gherbia, Isabelle Adjani and Stefan Crepon hits theaters this Wednesday July 6.
Interview in Paris on June 22, 2022 by Brigitte Baronnet