8 WOMEN
8 FEMMES
2002, Focus Features, 111 min, France/Italy, Dir: François Ozon

For 8 WOMEN, director François Ozon convened a company of France’s finest female acting talents. Danielle Darrieux is Mamy, the wheelchair-bound matriarch of a wealthy family that gathers at its chalet for Christmas, only to find the master of the house dead from a knife to the back. Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert are Mamy’s daughters, who, along with each of the film’s other principal characters, find themselves trapped in the chalet and accused of murder. Adapted from Robert Thomas’ stage play and influenced by the screwball comedies of old Hollywood, 8 WOMEN marries farce, melodrama and musical in an unbridled exploration of just how quickly the gloves come off when eight women with lethal motives are confined together.


SWIMMING POOL
2003, Focus Features, 102 min, France/UK, Dir: François Ozon

A British mystery author, a summer house in the South of France and a poolside escapade gone awry are the basic ingredients of this Hitchcockian thriller starring Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier. The Palme d’Or competitor has no shortage of Ozon twists and turns as it depicts the commission of a single mistake and the efforts of two women to contain that mistake.


LET THE SUNSHINE IN
UN BEAU SOLEIL INTÉRIEUR
2017, IFC Films/Sundance Selects, 94 min, France/Belgium, Dir: Claire Denis

Shedding the blood and guts but none of the stinging bite of her previous work on male-female relationships, Claire Denis’ LET THE SUNSHINE IN is a surprisingly caustic romantic comedy about a woman’s search for true love. Taking a narrative stab at French philosopher Roland Barthes’ 1977 book, A Lover's Discourse: Fragments, Denis and screenwriter-novelist Christine Angot examine a woman’s troubled love life as she finds little success beyond carnal gratification. Juliette Binoche plays the frustrated Isabelle, in one of her most riveting performances. “A simple story of enormous complexity. A romantic comedy and drama in which the questioning of those very categories is a part of the action ... a peculiarly insightful glimpse into the emotional fluidity within the formal boundaries of French culture.” - Richard Brody – The New Yorker.


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