François Ozon Keeps His Distance

La Petite Mort

"Sadism is its own proof of attachment and concern."
photo: Robin Holland
"Sadism is its own proof of attachment and concern."

Though averse to the "extreme naturalism" dominant in French cinema, Ozon is keen to reject the provocateur tag. "It's not conscious, and besides, from movies I don't expect answers as much as questions." Still, his next film, featuring a "50-something, 100 percent heterosexual couple" played by Charlotte Rampling and Bruno Kremer, "should depend more on the audience's ability to identify with the characters" and sounds like a reprise of the summer-idyll creepshow See the Sea (the husband vanishes midway through). Asked if he has a more-than-passing interest in psychoanalysis, Ozon, emerging master of psychosexual horror that he is, replies without hesitation: "I enjoy reading clinical studies of psychology. I don't necessarily understand everything, but usually a word or a sentence jumps out at me, and I get the meaning. I learn more about myself if I can find myself in these works."

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