Running time: 98'

Kern is excessive in every respect and impressive not just because of his girth. A former Fassbinder actor, he is an aging diva, openly gay, an irritating and uncompromising character. His strong voice fills every room, even if it is only a modest modern flat in the Viennese suburbs. He is on stage everywhere, keeping the two directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala on a short leash. He never for a moment permits any illusion about who is directing this film. He turns the camera around and holds the mirror up to us. He is the finger in the wound, exposing our voyeurism and pleasure in the obscene. But Franz and Fiala bravely stand up to him and disarm him by revealing their strategies. This shadow-boxing produces an extraordinary and complex portrait. It’s true that we don’t learn much about Peter Kern the human being, but a lot about the artist he plays so consummately, a role by now inseparable from his self. One of the rare magic cinema moments comes when Kern snuggles up to the cameraman’s hand. One is reminded of “The Beauty and the Beast” – only who is who?



You're on the archive site. Go to the current edition of the festival website.