French filmmaker Francois Ozon continues to explore transgressive aspects of sexuality (see In the House) with this deliberately controversial drama about a teen prostitute. But since he refuses to indulge in the usual cliches, we don't react the way we think we should, so the film forces us to think about the story in a surprisingly fresh way.
The teen in question is Isabelle (Vacth), who in the summer of her 17th birthday orchestrates the loss of her virginity to a cute stranger. When she tells her little brother Victor (Ravat), he can't understand how Isabelle could so casually dump this boy. And she never tells her open-minded mother and stepdad (Pailhas and Pierrot). Back home in Paris, she secretly starts working after school as a high-class hooker, visiting her clients in pricey hotels. But when her favourite john (Leyson) dies suddenly, her secret comes out. And everyone wonders if she can go back to being a regular teen.
The twist here is that Isabelle comes from a liberal, wealthy family, and has no need to become a prostitute. She seems to do it out of boredom, because she doesn't need the money and isn't that interested in sex either. On the other hand, she loves pretending to be older than she is. Vacth reveals all of this through a remarkably transparent performance that's often unnerving to watch. By clouding her motivation, we almost become complicit in her actions. We certainly can't just sit back and watch passively.
Continue reading: Young & Beautiful [Jeune & Jolie] Review
Ozon's story recounts the ill-fated union of Marion (Valerie Bruni Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Freiss), a wife and husband who, at film's start, are shown quietly finalizing their divorce in a drab office, their faces pained but stoic reflections of their relief, misery and nervousness over the end of their matrimony. Clearly indebted - in spirit if not in specifics - to Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage (including Gilles' beard, a nod to Erland Josephson's), 5x2 (before heading back in time) subsequently moves from this depressing administrative locale to a furtive, desperate motel reunion between the newly single Marion and Gilles where attempts to rekindle the sexual fire ends in physical and emotional abuse. This powerhouse confrontation finds Bruni Tedeschi and Freiss, their forlorn eyes captured in close-up, expressing without words the callous selfishness, lack of communication, and physical and emotional detachment that doomed their relationship. And the scene ignites the film with a promise of eye-opening bombshells to come about the couple's dissolution via the ensuing backwards procession through a dinner party with Gilles' brother and his lover, Gilles' injurious cowardice during the birth of his son, their drunken wedding night, and their first encounter on a tropical beach.
Continue reading: 5x2 Review
When a distraught Don Juan is about to commit suicide because of the loss of his (most recent) love, psychiatrist Jack Mickler (Marlon Brando) is brought in to bring him back to reality. This proves to be a major undertaking, as Mickler slowly begins to realize that the "delusional" Don Juan may actually be who he says he is. As his last case before retirement, Mickler is given ten days to determine whether or not to institutionalize Don Juan, and there, the journey into the man's past begins.
Continue reading: Don Juan Demarco Review
Opening with an extended scene of such dry divorce-relat=edlegalese that after a while it becomes almost funny (property division,child support, life insurance, taxes), "5x2" is another entirelyunique cinematic experience from writer-director Fran=E7ois Ozon.
The young filmmaker has a penchant for inventively tweaki=ngthe nose of whatever genre he's working in -- 2003's dark noir thriller In the first of five episodes going back through time,a drained-looking Marion and Gilles (Val=E9ria Bruni-Tedeschi and St=E9phaneFreiss) finalize their separation, then go to a hotel room for a last rompin bed that shows just how ugly their relationship has become. Later scenesallude to the infidelity, unreasonable demands, emotional disconnects andother turning points that are not immediately apparent to the charactersthemselves. Continue reading: 5x2 (In Subtitled French) Review
In the first of five episodes going back through time,a drained-looking Marion and Gilles (Val=E9ria Bruni-Tedeschi and St=E9phaneFreiss) finalize their separation, then go to a hotel room for a last rompin bed that shows just how ugly their relationship has become. Later scenesallude to the infidelity, unreasonable demands, emotional disconnects andother turning points that are not immediately apparent to the charactersthemselves.
Continue reading: 5x2 (In Subtitled French) Review
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