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Marina de Van
The end and beginning of the love of the French couple Marion and Gilles is disclosed backwards through five moments in their lives: 1st moment: They divorce and have one last brutal intercourse without love. 2nd moment: With their relationship shaken, they have a dinner party with Gilles's gay brother Christophe and his younger mate, when an infidelity is disclosed at the dinner table. 3rd moment: The troubled pregnancy of Marion and the delivery of their premature son Nicolas, with the total absence of Gilles. 4th moment: Their wedding, when Marion commits adultery with an unknown guest of the hotel. 5th moment: When they meet each other in an Italian resort and begin their relationship. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A film that suggests a cross between Bergmans's gut-wrenching "Scenes From a Marriage" (1973) and Stanley Donen's more lighthearted "Two For the Road" (1967), mixed in a bit with that backwards "Seinfeld" episode, "5X2" (2005) is a very fine adult drama from director Francois Ozon. As the title suggests, it is comprised of five short glimpses at the doomed relationship of a handsome professional couple, Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stephane Freiss). As in "Two For the Road," we see unchronological snapshots of this couple's failing marriage, but unlike the '67 film, rather than being given scattershot scenes from various periods, here we proceed continuously backward in time: from the divorce settlement and its rather icky aftermath, backward to one of the couple's dinner parties, back still to the birth of their premature son, on to their wedding party (and a most unusual wedding night, to put it mildly), and all the way back to one of their first meetings. Our foreknowledge that the couple's marriage is doomed makes the cracks in Marion and Gilles' relationship stand out all the clearer. Consequently, the pretty, upbeat ending is rendered bittersweet at best, with our preglimpse of what their future holds. "5X2" has been finely put together and features sterling acting down to the smallest bit players. It was especially great for me seeing that grand old actor, Michael Lonsdale (who will always be Hugo Drax for us Bond fanatics), still acting at age 74, here playing Marion's father. My only complaint, really, concerning "5X2" is that it is a bit on the short and sketchy side; perhaps a few extra scenes would have enabled us to more fully understand the characters' motivations, particularly Gilles' (and especially his no-show at his son's birth). This, for me, is the only thing that prevents "5X2" from being a perfect 10.
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