Parallel Lives

Elliptically structured, the film has an unhurried pace that adds to the tension and the pathos. Like Dreamlife of Angels, Seul has a vivid sense of place. Zonca's Paris is a bustling, warm city filled with energetic people who think nothing of freezing out a 20-year-old incapable of fending for herself.

Even at his best, as in the elegant psychological-horror film See the Sea, François Ozon lacks the subtlety of Zonca. Sitcom, a macabre domestic comedy that's getting a release after a year on the festival circuit, is something of a French surburban reworking of Freud's Totem and Taboo. The totem animal is a large white laboratory rat that the father brings home and whose presence liberates the id of every person with whom it comes in contact—except the one with whom it's most closely identified. Because the conceit is not convincing, the pileup of perversities—from incest to sadomasochism to cannibalism—seems like an exercise in épater le bourgeois. Ozon has a flamboyant sense of style, which he uses to mean-spirited ends.


An Ideal Husband
Written and directed by Oliver Parker
A Miramax release
Opens June 18

Written and directed by Erick Zonca
At the Anthology
June 19

Written and directed by Franois Ozon
A Leisure Time Features release
Opens June 18

Correction: Eric Rohmer's short film Cambrure was transferred from DV to 35mm, not to 16mm as I wrote last week. I don't know what I was thinking—they don't even have 16mm projectors at Cannes.

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