potiche gff 2011
potiche gff 2011

GFF 2011: Layers of Ozon

With Potiche selected as GFF's opening gala film, we look at the previous works by French director Francois Ozon
Feature by Jamie Dunn.
Published 17 February 2011

After last year’s riotous opening gala Micmacs, Glasgow Film Festival continues its auld alliance with our cousins across the channel by bring you Potiche, a perfume scented romp from François Ozon.

Ozon is one of those directors who madden subscribers to la politique des Auteurs. Like British anti-auteurist film-makers Michael Winterbottom and Stephen Frears, his eclectic output defies categorisation. His first three features gave him a reputation as provocateur: 1998’s Sitcom is a kind of Pasolini pastiche in which a pet rat turns a sexually repressed bourgeois household into a sweaty den of debauchery; Criminal Lovers (1999) is a cross between a lovers-on-the-lam yarn and a Brothers Grimm fairytale; Water Drops on Burning Rocks (2000) sees him channel New German Cinema firecracker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. On the surface all are very different, but they share a focus on characters with fluid sexualities, and all feature an abundance of naked flesh, particularly male. He was quickly dubbed the new enfant terrible of French cinema.

His next three pictures confounded auteurism further by focusing on the fairer sex. Under the Sand (2000) and Swimming Pool (2003), respectively a gravely serious melodrama and nutty comic thriller, feature his muse of the moment, Charlotte Rampling, while he enlisted an octet of French actresses in 8 Women (2002), including Catherine Deneuve, star of Potiche, to create a sardonic musical-whodunit in the style of Vincente Minnelli. With more recent films such as Ricky (2009), Angel (2007) and 5x2 (2004), he continues to play with genres and themes.

So what will he offer up tonight with Potiche? That would be telling, but with French cinema greats Deneuve, who looks as luminous as she did in her 60s and 70s heyday, and Gérard Dépardieu on board it is sure to be a entertaining opening to this year’s festival.

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