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Author: Andrew Asibong

François Ozon was born in Paris to René and Anne-Marie Ozon on November 15, 1967. This book takes as one of its points of departure the idea that Ozon has consciously styled his œuvre thus far around a number of recurring tropes and themes, one of the most striking of which has been the emergence of adult sexualities and relations from out of the spectral carcasses of real or fantasised family members. Kinship, desire and violence thus structure the narratives of all the films under discussion, and can be seen to stamp Ozon's repertoire of images firmly with the mark of a self-styled auteur. The book discusses considers the majority of Ozon's short films together with his first feature Sitcom through the lens of desire, and demonstrates the extent to which Ozon's vision of human sexuality can be described as a fundamentally 'queer' and 'post-modern' one. It focuses on four of Ozon's simultaneously most accomplished and misunderstood films and approaches them via the perspective of the power relations they depict. They are Regarde la mer, Les Amants criminels, and 8 femmes. The book surveys a number of Ozon's films from the 2000s: Sous le sable, Swimming Pool, 5x2, and Le Temps qui reste. Sexual desire as represented by Ozon is almost always multidimensional and consistently astonishing in its capacity for boundless reinvention. His films frequently employ household servants among their cast of characters. Ozon uses tools borrowed from the toolbox of three genres: namely, horror, melodrama and musical.

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An introduction to François Ozon
Andrew Asibong

, Sitcom. The French actress, screenwriter and director Marina de Van crops up as the terrifying Tatiana of Regarde la mer (1997) and as the dutiful daughter Sophie in Sitcom, and has also (along with occasional collaborator Emmanuèle Bernheim) assisted Ozon in the writing of a number of his screenplays. Another young French actress, Ludivine Sagnier, stars in three Ozon features (Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes, 1999

in François Ozon
Kate Ince

constituted by his filming of a Fassbinder play in Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes (Water Drops on Burning Rocks, 1999), and by the ‘Buñuelian’ subversiveness of Sitcom and 8 Femmes, films which, as Jonathan Romney observes, represent a singular queering of the tradition of surrealist subversion of the bourgeoisie (Romney 1999 : 56). In Une robe d’été (Summer Dress, 1996

in Five directors
Cinema beyond relation?
Andrew Asibong

the Channel (and, indeed, the Atlantic). 2 Ozon himself speaks of his desire to make a film in which he could display an older female body in a simultaneously erotic, attractive and realistic manner, and was drawn to Rampling as the ideal vehicle for such a project. 3 Chronologically sandwiched between the cruel and campy 1970s tack of Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes and the outrageously melodramatic 1950s excesses

in François Ozon
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Andrew Asibong

, foreground), about to be visited by Tatiana (Marina de Van, background) in Regarde la mer (1997) 5 Leopold (Bernard Giraudeau) presides over Anna (Ludivine Sagnier), Franz (Malik Zidi) and Vera (Anna Thomson) in Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes (1999

in François Ozon
Genre and the shock of over-stimulation
Andrew Asibong

registers in which characters and spectators are trapped and seek to escape. Representations of sex are, in Ozon’s cinema, often weirdly unworthy of comment: erect penises such as Stéphane Rideau’s in Sitcom or Melvil Poupaud’s in Le Temps qui reste are passed over by a curiously listless camera, as are the naked female bodies of Ludivine Sagnier in both Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes and Swimming Pool and Valeria

in François Ozon
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Society, spectacle and sadomasochistic cinema
Andrew Asibong

Fassbinder adaptation Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes that would immediately follow it, Les Amants criminels is haunted by Ozon’s apparent preoccupation during this period with a certain ‘wrong turn’ taken by human fantasy, with the jarring disjunction between sadomasochistic game-playing (with all its smug assumptions about reversibility, reconfiguration and productive transgression) and the all-engulfing sadistic machine

in François Ozon
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Sexualities on the move?
Andrew Asibong

… could rock the status quo’ ( 1999 : 12). 3 Ozon’s celebration as a specifically gay filmmaker has been particularly marked in the United States: both Une Robe d’été and Les Amants criminels won prizes at the Los Angeles Outfest Film Festivals of 1996 and 1999, while Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes was named best

in François Ozon
Guy Austin

that his subsequent three films are again in entirely different registers: Les Amants criminels ( Criminal Lovers , 1999) mixes thriller with fairytale, Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes ( Water Drops on Burning Rocks , 1999) is a camp yet tragic adaptation of a play by Fassbinder, and Sous le sable is close to the classical cinéma d’auteur , while none the less dealing with the taboo subject of female sexual desire

in Contemporary French cinema