Fanny Ardant, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, the cast goes on . . .
He’s cast a who’s who of French actresses in his new film, 8 Women, despite being known for taking pleasure in mocking stars. How does FRANCOIS OZON manage It? Words: Kaleem Aftab
n meeting Francois ()zon you get a sense of ‘the
boy next door‘. all mild-mannered nature and
polite charm. It's hard to believe that the prolific French ﬁlmmaker (he‘s made a film a year for the past five) was once labelled the country’s enfant terrible of contemporary cinema.
In his early films. Sitcom and Criminal Lures. ()zon took pleasure in mocking taboos and buIIdo/ing convention. Recently his films have toned down the shock value. yet they still subvert stereotypes by playing on the public image of movie stars. For his latest movie. 8 I'limten. ()zon has attracted a stellar cast that reads like a who‘s who of feminine French cinema. Here's what he had to say about working with such lovely ladies.
The List It seems that you take pleasure in mocking stars . . .
Francois Ozon For 8 Women I realised that the film would be funnier and more interesting if I had eight stars. It‘s funnier to see Catherine Deneuve struggle with Isabelle Huppert than to have people we don’t know. There is a fantasy about the relationship between stars. I think there is a real pleasure. at big fetish of the audience. to see stars suffering.
TL In 8 Women you take the image of the stars to the extreme and create a parody of them.
F0 What is a star‘.’ When you see a film. do you see the star or the character‘.’ Can you forget who (‘atherine Deneuve is‘.’ That she has made many films with Truffaut. Polanski. Bunuel‘.’ As a director you have to deal with the whole career of an actress. you cannot forget that.
TL Do you always want to push limits‘.’
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‘There is a real pleasure, a big fetish of the audience, to see stars suffering’
F0 I just want to follow my pleasure and my desire. I like to have a challenge for each film. For 8 Home/1 it was a challenge to mix a whodunnit with a musical and know how I would manage eight women like this. Two
months after we started shooting there were a lot of
things that I did not know. You have to find the solution during the shooting. and that is what is exciting for me.
TL Do you write parts with particular actors in mind'.’
F0 In a way. For example I'm/er l/I(’ .S'um/ with (‘atherine I)eneuve would not have been the same film. because (‘atherine I)eneuve is not (‘harlotte Rampling. They don't have the same emotions and I think it is important for the director to keep the personality of the actor on screen. to feel the soul of the actor.
TL Why do all your films take place in closed environments'.’
F0 I like the idea of enclosing the characters in one place and seeing what happens. Like when you put animals in a cage. Maybe I’m a sadist ~ I don’t know.
TL Did you choose the 50s era for 8 ll'mm'ii because that was the golden age of iconic women'.’
F0 Actually. we decided to set the film in the 50s because of the fashion. It was a time of new fashion for woman: Dior. the ‘New Look. With my team we looked at the ﬁlms made in France in the 50s and the films were very sad. black and white. but in Hollywood there were musicals in Technicolor and this is exactly what I wanted. Forch France. let's find inspiration in 50s America.
TL (‘ould you have made 8 Men?
F0 I think this would have been boring for me. because it would have been a lilm with guns and bravado. Yet I think in a certain way my film is more cruel becatise words are sometimes more dangerous than guns.
8 Women is on selected release from Fri 29 Nov. See review, page 22.
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Molly Parker keeping it Pure
JA! JA! THE GERMAN FILM Festival comes to Scotland for the third year in a row, showcasing highlights of the festival at Edinburgh‘s Filmhouse and Dundee Contemporary Arts from Friday 6—Sunday 8 December. Quite possibly the best of the nine-film selection is the English language documentary about New York film buffs, Cinemania, which was also screened during the Edinburgh International Film Festival last August. Other highlights include: the teenage road movie Mutants, the blackly comic study of a self- destructive girl Sophiiiie.’ and The S/urb, which is based on the best-selling children‘s book.
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