Contains three films from director François Ozon: Swimming Pool
, 8 Women
and 5 x 2
. Swimming Pool
- In terms of alluring female nudity, Swimming Pool
shows a lot, but it's what remains concealed that gives this erotic thriller a potent, voyeuristic charge. With his Hitchcockian handling of secrets and lies, prolific French director François Ozon reunites with his Under the Sand
star Charlotte Rampling to tell a seductive tale of murder and complicity, beginning when British mystery novelist Sarah Morton (Rampling) seeks peace and relaxation at her publisher's French villa, only to find his brash, sexually liberated daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) arriving shortly thereafter to disrupt her solitary reverie.
What begins as mutual annoyance turns into something more sinister and duplicitous, alternating between Julie's predatory sex with men and Sarah's observant, perhaps jealous fascination. These two women, generations apart, share in Ozon's delicate dance of trust, curiosity and gradual understanding until a twist ending that forces you to re-evaluate everything you've seen. Only then are the mysteries of Swimming Pool
fully and tantalisingly revealed. --Jeff Shannon, amazon.com 8 Women
- The cream of France's cinema sirens star in the deliciously candy-coloured 8 Women
, a murder mystery speckled with ornate performances that play up the public image of the actresses themselves. Eight women find themselves snowbound in a house with a dead man--a man each of them (his wife, sister, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, daughters, housekeeper, and chambermaid) had reason to kill. Secrets tumble forth, accusations fly, catfights flare, and confrontations turn steamy, all accompanied by campy performances of 1960s French pop songs. At first, these musical numbers seem like pure kitsch, comic and entertaining, but over the movie's course, they become strangely touching. Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Virginie Ledoyen, Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Beart, Isabelle Huppert, Ludivine Sagnier, and Firmine Richard are all superb, investing their cardboard characters with a strange emotional resonance--and their costumes are exquisite. An entrancing piece of giddy fluff. --Bret Fetzer 5 x 2
is a haunting and realistic evocation of the evanescence of love and how adult relationships evolve over time. Returning to a more intimate scale following his international smash, Swimming Pool
, Francois Ozon's chamber drama is an anatomy of a failed marriage told in reverse chronology, starting with the finalization of the couple's divorce and concluding, literally, as they walk off into the sunset for their first encounter. Subverting the conventions of cinema romance along with audience expectations of happy endings, Ozon focuses on five key chapters in these two people's lives -- including the first blush of sexual attraction, the wedding night, and the birth of their first child -- that reveal the inextricable emotional ties between them, while at the same time exposing the inevitable seeds of discord.
A trio of films by the internationally acclaimed French director. In 'Swimming Pool' (2003), bestselling author Sarah (Charlotte Rampling) goes to stay in her publisher John's holiday home in rural France for some much-needed peace and quiet. But soon John's teenage daughter, Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), arrives without warning, and the battle begins between her easy living and one-night stands and Sarah's old-fashioned values. In '8 Women' (2002), Ozon brings together many of France's most celebrated actresses for this country house murder musical set in the 1950s. When teenager Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen) returns to her family home for Christmas, she is greeted by her glamorous mother (Catherine Deneuve), her wheelchair-bound grandmother (Danielle Darrieux), her bookworm sister (Ludivine Sagnier), her spinster aunt (Isabelle Huppert) and the new family maid (Emmanuelle Béart). But the holiday is quickly thrown into confusion by the discovery that Suzon's father has been murdered in his room. One of the eight women gathered in the house must be the culprit, but which one? In 5 x 2 (2004), the film shows five scenes from a modern marriage in reverse order from its disintegration to its genesis. It provides an insight into an ordinary middle-class relationship: that of Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Freiss). First, the divorce proceedings, then an unhappy dinner party, the birth of the couple's only son, the wedding and finally the first meeting.