SHORT CUTS: Franí§ois Ozon – Regarde la mer and other short films


Format: DVD

Release date: 31 March 2008

Distributor: BFI

Director: Franí§ois Ozon

Writer: Franí§ois Ozon

Titles: Regarde la mer, Action vérité, La Petite mort, Une Robe d’été, Scí¨nes de lit, X2000, Un Lever de rideau

France 1994-2006

152 mins

Franí§ois Ozon’s short films are not so much exercises in visual narrative as visual studies of people in situations. The main subject is faces of naked people in a sexual context. Mainly people to whom the context is new. So (conveniently) mainly young people – teenagers, and other experimenters. Ozon is not here interested in sex in a relationship, sex as part of a shared life. He is interested in sex as passing pleasure, as self-discovery, above all as recreation. This of course positions his work well for hipsters, who, one supposes, like to think of sex in this way. And, one might think, also for middle-aged voyeurs, but I am pleased to report that I detected little Larry Clark-style salaciousness here. As well as faces, Ozon is quite interested in bodies, particularly male bottoms and genitalia, and I think we should be grateful that this director does offer good parts for penises, a neglected resource in cinema, if you discount pornography. The shorter films in this compilation are varied in tone, mainly light and often whimsical. Ozon does a nice job of capturing natural performances from his cast. They often seem gauche and embarrassed, perhaps not surprisingly, but it seems to work.

The medium-length Regarde la mer is an entirely different matter, a disturbing psychodrama in which sexual attraction takes on a threatening or threatened aspect. Admirers of Ozon’s full-length Swimming Pool might wish to investigate, if they are feeling brave. It is hard to imagine anything further from my own Ozon favourite, the good-natured musical diversion 8 femmes.

Peter Momtchiloff