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One morning at an isolated mansion in the snowy countryside of 1950s France, a family is gathered for the holiday season. But there will be no celebration at all because their beloved patriarch has been murdered! The killer can only be one of the eight women closest to the man of the house. Was it his powerful wife? His spinster sister-in-law? His miserly mother-in-law? Maybe the insolent chambermaid or the loyal housekeeper? Could it possibly have been one of his two young daughters? A surprise visit from the victim's chic sister sends the household into a tizzy, encouraging hysterics, exacerbating rivalries, and encompassing musical interludes. Comedic situations arise with the revelations of dark family secrets. Seduction dances with betrayal. The mystery of the female psyche is revealed. There are eight women and each is a suspect. Each has a motive. Each has a secret. Beautiful, tempestuous, intelligent, sensual, and dangerous...one of them is guilty. Which one is it? Written by
Anthony Pereyra <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I saw the future of French cinema and its name is François Ozon!
A movie launched in 2002, "8 femmes" was the establishing movie for François Ozon. Through his movies, from his medium-length film "See the Sea" (1997) to "8 women" (2002) to "the criminal lovers" (1999), he developed his own style based on surprise. In short, his aim is to surprise the spectator. With this movie, we can say that he reached his goal and it is probably his most accomplished movie. It is also a movie that confirms the originality of his cinema.
First of all, "8 women" is a movie that surprises by its tone breaks. It means that Ozon passes from drama to comedy with great ease just like Jaco Van Dormael with "Toto the Hero" (1991). As for the songs, they are totally unexpected. Which other director would have included musical numbers in a detective movie?
As for the influences of the movie, they are numerous. Of course, this film is an adaptation from a play that evokes the Agatha Christie universe but Ozon felt like scattering his movie with all kinds of allusions: Vincente Minelli, Douglas Sirk (the deer in the garden). These allusions are especially linked to French culture: the French TV program "au théâtre ce soir" but also Jacques Demy (the bright colors, the songs) and French cinema before the "new wave". More than allusions, they are tributes from a director who once said "I don't care about new-wave".
François Ozon also plays with the spectator, a bit like Hergé with the Tintin album "the Castafiore Emerald". He holds him spellbound until the end of the film either by leading him on wrong tracks, either by giving him clues that seem to make the movie progress, and this until the final revelation that turns out to be unexpected and amazing. Besides, given the conclusion, Ozon's movie can be considered in its whole as a farce with absurd humor. The best example involves Danièle Darrieux. At the beginning of the movie, she seems to be disabled but then she stands up and walks without any difficulty for an important part of the movie!
The movie is also powerful thanks to its dialogs. On this point, beware of the poster where these 8 women have a smiling countenance! These witty and sometimes ironical dialogs reveal these women's real personality that mainly rests on selfishness. Furthermore, the actresses have a spare time in the shoes of their respective character (Isabelle Huppert is particularly irresistible).
Ozon also left high and dry several details that have, in the long run nothing important (and it is a compliment): we don't know at what time the movie takes place. Several points of the movie show it: the songs composed at different times. Then, certain elements of scenery and dialogs seem either dated either modern. In another extent, we never see the face of the sole man in the plot.
In the end, "8 women" is an unrealistic, timeless and unique movie and surprise to see this movie meet commercial acclaim in France. François Ozon by imposing his style so peculiar remains more than ever a filmmaker to follow.
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