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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

Ozon’s queer fairy tale of 1998, Les Amants criminels. Once more, then, the film anticipates the themes and aesthetics of many later Ozon films, especially in its evocation of the inherent isolation within the couple relation. Ozon shoots his parents in a number of summer holiday afternoon situations: Papa rides his bicycle alone, while Maman goes shopping in the village alone. Cross-cutting between the two solitary activities Ozon

in François Ozon
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Society, spectacle and sadomasochistic cinema
Andrew Asibong

Les Amants criminels , the striking mention of the Marquis de Sade’s castle in Swimming Pool or the leather-clad denizens of the gay backroom in Le Temps qui reste ? One approach we might adopt would be to consider to what extent Ozon’s emphasis on artificial, chosen and highly ritualised processes of debasement allows his films to explore potential ways in which more wide-reaching hierarchies and stratifications might

in François Ozon
Kate Ince

. Perhaps Ozon’s most extended illustration of a change of lovers that is also a shift from a heterosexual to a homosexual orientation occurs to Luc, in Les Amants criminels (Criminal Lovers, 1998). After the murder of their schoolfellow Saïd to which Alice has incited Luc, and their subsequent flight from home, the lovers are imprisoned by a woodsman, 6 who has seen them bury (and who then digs up) Saïd’s body, and has decided

in Five directors
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Sexualities on the move?
Andrew Asibong

chin. In Action Vérité (1994) Ozon shows us one teenage girl feel in jest between the legs of another, only to pull out a hand covered in menstrual blood. In Les Amants criminels (1999) the camera focuses on the face of the teenage hero as he is sodomised by a bearded ‘ogre’. In 1998’s Sitcom a candid medium-shot of the naked and erect penis of Stéphane Rideau being pushed between the breasts of Lucía Sánchez is served

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

a banal interaction with the film being viewed. Characters such as young Victor, the family in Sitcom, teenage Luc in Les Amants criminels or Sarah Morton in Swimming Pool effectively cross over from an increasingly tedious landscape of desire- and fantasy-based transgression to an outlandish register of what the psychoanalyst Lacan would term ‘pulsion’ (‘drive’), in which their worlds and desires literally fall

in François Ozon
Phil Powrie

Miki Manojlovic in the role of Erostrate, the drunk. He had acted in several films by Emir Kusturica, but had most recently appeared in Ozon’s Les Amants criminels (1999). There was Yves Rénier, a well-known TV actor (particularly for the title role in the series ‘Le Commissaire Moulin’), in the role of Max Kubier. Finally, there was Catherine Mouchet, whom Beineix had seen as the psychologist in Philippe Harel’s Extension

in Jean-Jacques Beineix
Cinema beyond relation?
Andrew Asibong

-revelatory ‘positive’ outcome can be claimed for many of Ozon’s other films of the 1990s: Victor , La Petite Mort , Une Rose entre nous , Une Robe d’été and Les Amants criminels all offer their (male) protagonists an instance of horrific vision, an instance that is followed by a certain liberation from their spectral anxieties. This liberation gives them a chance, at least, for personal resolution

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