5 x 2
To be shown: 26 November 2007
Director: François Ozon.
Starring: Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Stephane Freiss.
Certificate 15. 90 minutes.
5 x 2 is composed of five chapters from the failed marriage of Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stephane Freiss) shown in reverse chronological order. The film travels backwards, from their divorce to the beginning of their relationship, giving us insights into the strains underneath their relationship. In between we witness an awkward dinner party - where the consumption of too much wine results in them sharing secrets with their fellow diners that underscore their differences, the birth of their child, and their wedding. They never seem to want the same thing at the right time; their desires seem always to be at cross-purposes. The differences between the couple also stand out: Marion is a higher calibre person, she speaks more languages, she can swim better. Her superiority takes its toll on the relationship. The style in which the story is told encourages the audience to wonder if the separation was inevitable; they appear to have been incompatible from the start.
Ozon wrote this story with frequent collaborator, Emmanuele Bernheim, and they are not afraid to explore the dark corners of relationships and sexuality. In fact, Ozon has distinguished himself with dark, mordantly psychological films.
The film succeeds very much due to the strength of the acting. Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi in particular gives a wistfully melancholic performance as Marion (rewarded by Best Actress win at Venice Film Festival), with an understated but no less excellent performance by Stephane Freiss. They nail the exasperation and hair-trigger bickering that come with long time familiarity.
François Ozon was one of the more provocative and vibrant filmmakers to emerge during the 1990s. He has earned comparisons to Hitchcock and Chabrol.
François Ozon calls actress Romola Garai his muse.
He is quoted as saying "I do films to be behind the camera, not in front of the camera. I'm sure I say very intimate things about myself in all my films, but it's better to say it not too directly, to be hidden behind a woman.".
Ozon's earlier films include "Swimming Pool", "8 Femmes" and "Under the Sand".
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi is the sister of Carla Bruni, and the daughter of Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi, an industrialist, and Marysa Borini, a concert pianist. As her family became a target of the communist Red Brigades in Italy, she grew up in Paris.
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi has credits as actress, director, writer. The first movie she directed was based on her real life experiences as the daughter of a rich family - Il est plus facile pour un chameau.
Reference is made through the film to relevant articles from the matrimonial sections of the French Civil Code.
During the hotel room scene early in the film, Marion's wedding band changes from the left hand to the right hand, then back to the left again!