Romain is a very successful fashion photographer who's diagnosed with terminal cancer. He copes by being cruel and nasty to those he loves, until a visit with his grandmother changes his outlook. But, his boyfriend's moved out, now what?
Germany in the 1970s. Whilst waiting for his girlfriend, a young student, Franz, allows himself to be picked up by 50-year old businessman, Léopold. In his apartment, Léopold provokes Franz into revealing his homosexual experiences and soon manages to seduce him. Six months later, Frantz has moved in with Léopold and they appear to live as an ordinary married couple. The strain is beginning to show, however, and after a row Frantz threatens to leave. Whilst Léopold is away, Frantz is visited by his former girlfriend, Anna, and their romance is soon rekindled. Before the two lovers can escape, Léopold returns and his charms persuade Anna to stay. Léopold's ex-lover Vera then makes an unexpected appearance and the menagerie is complete... Written by
Francois Ozon's film version of Fassbinder's play is like another more slightly surreal, very blackly comic version of "The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant", played out this time mostly by men. Fifty year old Leo picks up twenty year old Franz and brings him home for the night. Franz stays, becoming his lover, his houseboy but mostly his slave. There are only two other characters in this slight, stage-bound piece; Anna, Franz's vacuous former girlfriend and Vera, Leo's former transsexual lover.
Fundamentally it's about love, of the destructive, unwholesome kind maybe, but love nevertheless. Whatever hold Leo has over Franz, (and Vera), they both love him though it could hardly be said that it is reciprocated. Leo is very much the master and everyone else is his slave. Whether he is capable of love is debatable.
Ozon makes the piece both erotic and humorous but it is never quite as touching as it ought to be. All four players give good performances with Malik Zidi quietly outstanding as the boy.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?