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Marina de Van
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After losing her virginity, Isabelle takes up a secret life as a call girl, meeting her clients for hotel-room trysts. Throughout, she remains curiously aloof, showing little interest in the encounters themselves or the money she makes.
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
5x2 comes as a slight let-down following director Francois Ozon's recent critical and commercial success with Swimming Pool.Ozon's decision to structure the film in an anti-linear fashion is nothing original and he himself admits he was influenced by Jane Campion's little-known TV film Two Friends (1985) which used the same structure. Ozon chooses 5 crucial scenes from the life of Marion and Gilles, a middle-class couple with a son, Nicholas, whose married life quickly disintegrates into divorce. Ozon begins with the austere divorce, finishing with the moment this would-be-couple met.
The reverse structure allows the viewer to consider what went wrong and decipher why the marriage ended so bitterly. It is fairly obvious the reasons why they divorced, but Ozon and his frequent collaborator, Emmanuelle Bernhein, are as interested in the psychological worlds of these two people as their mundane reality.
The film works for the most part, but some scenes are unbelievable: Gilles's boastful confession at the party with his brother; the scene in the woods with Marion and an American tourist. These scenes undermine the subtle nature Ozon employs elsewhere. He explains too much, which isn't his style. A better edit would have made this an even better film.
As for the music, the corny 1960's Italian love songs used to close each segment are plain awful. The triviality of the songs might offer an ironic counterbalance to what is happening on screen, but the effect is of a sneering, sardonic detachment on behalf of the director. It's as if Ozon wants to dismiss every aspect of romantic culture as a fallacy.The best musical segment is at the end where Ozon's longtime composer Philippe Rombi returns some panache to the film's audio sensibilities. Special mention should go to Paolo Conte's haunting Sparring Partner which is used in the dinner scene and in the final credits.
The acting is excellent,and the closing frame is a masterstroke.But it doesn't merit that many repeat viewings as his earlier Swimming Pool did.
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