Preview by: Jack Foley
FRENCH director, François Ozon, is rapidly emerging as
one of the leading film-makers of his generation, following the
success of films such as 8 Women
and The Swimming Pool.
His latest, the provocative 5x2, was one of the hits of this
year's London Film Festival, emerging as an intelligent and thought-provoking
take on the nature of relationships.
The Guardian, for instance, described it as 'a deeply impressive
film from Ozon, who, at only 36, appears to be moving to a new
level of technical and creative mastery as a director'.
The film takes a look at a failed marriage and the key moments
which may have led to the break-up.
Told in reverse, it begins in a courtroom, as a lawyer reads
out the terms, and ends with a scene depicting how the couple
first became attracted to each other.
The couple in question are relative unknowns, Marion (Valeria
Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Freiss).
The scenes encompass an unhappy dinner party, the birth of the
couple's only son, their wedding and, of course, the first meeting.
It becomes clear that both lovers betrayed one another at some
point in the relationship, but refuses to point any fingers, or
provide definitive answers, preferring to let the viewer decide
It will probably represent an interesting
counterpoint to Michael Winterbottom's Nine
Songs, when both films open next year.
For Ozon, the challenge was to 'take another look at love from
the vantage point of my current experience, without getting bogged
down in explanations'.
He contiunes on his website: "It seems to me a bit facile
to say that routine is what kills love. It may contribute, but
often it's little more than a surface symptom masking very real
divergences between two people.
"The true reasons run deeper, and that's what I was interested
in. I wanted to film important moments in the life of a couple,
and not simply provide a routine as the guideline."
As for the nature of the narrative, which appears in reverse,
Ozon continues: "When a love affair comes to an end and you
reflect back on it, you concentrate essentially on the most recent
events, those that culminated in the break-up.
"So starting at the end and working gradually backwards
to the first encounter seemed like a good way of attaining a true,
lucid reading of a couple's story.
"As we go back in time, the form becomes lighter, almost
idealized. I wanted the audience to see the range of different
emotions two people experience in the course of their life together:
indifference, disgust, dread, jealousy, rivalry, closeness, attraction…
I also wanted each episode to reflect a different style of cinema."
Audiences can decide next year whether Ozon has achieved this.