All About Ozon


March 9-19 2017

Istanbul Modern Cinema presents its first retrospective of the films of François Ozon, one of the young masters of French cinema. A graduate of the prestigious film school La Femis (the alma mater of names like Louis Malle, Alain Resnais, and Claire Denis), Ozon has been making about one film per year since embarking on his directorial career in the late 1990s.

After directing various short films, Ozon came into the spotlight with his first feature film Sitcom (1998), a foretaste of the freewheeling cinematic style and whimsical, kitschy narratives of his subsequent period. Sitcom was followed by Water Drops on Burning Rocks (Gouttes d’Eau sur Pierres Brûlantes, 2000), adapted from the never-performed play of the same name by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Here, Ozon displays his reverence for melodrama and his interest in absurdist humor, over-the-top style, and LGBT characters. The same year saw the release of Under the Sand (Sous le Sable), marking a new direction for Ozon’s always vibrant, provocative cinematic oeuvre: this powerful drama was hailed as a “masterpiece” by none other than Ingmar Bergman. Ozon proved he was up to the task of making big-budget films with his next two works: 8 Women (8 Femmes, 2002), a musical whodunit recalling 1950s Hollywood melodramas (and featuring a cast of iconic French actresses), and Swimming Pool (2003), a tale of intrigue and suspense starring Charlotte Rampling. For all Ozon’s eclectic, prolific, accomplished cinematic oeuvre, it was with In the House (Dans la Maison, 2012) that he achieved his much-desired international breakthrough. Finally, we have Ozon’s 16th feature film Frantz, a black-and-white period piece starring Paula Beer (whose performance won her the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress at the Venice Film Festival). A novel departure from Ozon’s other films, Frantz demonstrates that his cinematic trajectory is never boring or predictable.The selection includes all of Ozon’s feature films as well as some of his short films.




FRANTZ, 2016

France, Germany | DCP, Black & White, 113’ | French, German

Cast:Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner

Frantz, which competed at last year’s Venice Film Festival, is Ozon’s first film in black and white (or in German). Anna, whose fiancé Frantzdied in the First World War, is at his graveside when she meets a young Frenchman named Adrien, who introduces himself as a friend of Frantz’s from Paris. In fact Adrien has an entirely different reason to be there, and he won’t reveal his secret to anyone. Based on a theater piece which was later adapted for the screen (Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 Broken Lullaby), Frantz revisits many themes familiar to Ozon aficionados and has an array of complicated female characters, making it a signature Ozon film indeed.



France| DCP, Color, 108’ | French

Cast:Romain Duris, Anaïs Demoustier, Raphaël Personnaz

Claire, watching her best friend Laura die at a young age, promises her that she’ll look after her husband David and her newborn baby. Struggling to move on from the pain of this loss, Claire at first avoids seeing David and the baby, but finally pays them a visit. The bizarre sight she encounters kindles a novel, unique type of friendship between herself and David. Ozon’s film is loosely adapted from the short story of the same name by Ruth Rendell, a prominent name in British detective fiction. A melodrama with a steadily more fluid conception of gender, The New Girlfriend is emotional and playful in equal measure.



France| HDD, Color, 95’ | French, German

Cast:Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot

Isabelle, a 17-year-old high school student, resolves to become a prostitute in order to satisfy her sexual curiosity and her need for intimacy. Hiding the fact that she’s underage, she sleeps with considerably older men and seems quite nonchalant about it all. At first, she regards these experiences as a mere lark, but over time, they become a habit she can’t shake off. Ozon’s film is a cinematic study of the body, the family, adolescence, and sexuality, in which every change of season is marked by a different Françoise Hardy song.



France | HDD, Color, 105’ | French

Cast:Fabrice Luchini, Vincent Schmitt, Ernst Umhauer

Germain, a literature teacher, gives his new class a composition to write for homework over the weekend. Most of them are mediocre, but one catches his eye: Claude’s description – in a magnificent literary style – of the secret goings-on in the house of Rapha, a classmate whom Claude goes to tutor. Germain’s passion for teaching is reignited by his student’s composition. After each lesson, he meets with Claude one-on-one to work on the continuation of the story, even at the cost of violating a family’s privacy. This remarkable thriller also features bold, incisive criticism of society.



France | HDD, Color, 103’ | French

Cast:Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Fabrice Luchini

France, 1977. The country is shaken by reports of nationwide strikes; meanwhile, in the town of Sainte-Gudule, all is not well at Robert Pujol’s umbrella factory. Robert’s workers eventually go on strike too and take their tyrannical boss hostage. At that point, his wife Suzanne – who’s devoted to her husband and her home – has no choice but to take over the running of the factory. To everyone’s surprise, she acquits herself quite well; but when her husband returns, it won’t be business as usual ever again. Potiche is a freewheeling comedy enhanced by majestic performances from veteran actors Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu.


RICKY, 2009

France, Italy | DVD, Color, 89’ | French

Cast:Alexandra Lamy, Sergi López, Mélusine Mayance

With an opening scene that recalls a domestic melodrama, this extraordinary film flits between many different genres from comedy to science fiction. Katie and Paco meet while working in a chemical plant, quickly get involved with each other, and soon have a baby. This new arrival changes the family in all the usual ways: the parents are always worn out, the older sister is jealous, the mother and baby form a close bond – in short, everything proceeds like clockwork. But when the baby mysteriously grows wings, the family is forced into many a harrowing predicament.



France | DVD, Color,  88’ | French

Cast:Isabelle Carré, Louis-Ronan Choisy, Pierre Louis-Calixte

The Refuge is the last film in Ozon’s Trilogy of Death, following Under the Sand and Time to Leave. One day, drug-addicted couple Mousse and Louis overdose in Louis’s Paris apartment. Mousse wakes up in a hospital, learning that her rich young boyfriend is dead and that she is pregnant. Feeling emotionally conflicted, she moves into a home by the seaside, far from the city. A few months later, Louis’s brother joins her, and the two become close in a slightly unconventional way. As in the other films in the trilogy, The Refuge addresses how people cope with death and loss, while also reflecting on how a woman’s pregnancy affects both her and the men in her life.


ANGEL, 2007

France, Belgium, UK | DVD, Color, 113’ | English

Cast:Michael Fassbender, Romola Garai, Sam Neill, Charlotte Rampling

Adapted from Elizabeth Taylor’s semi-satirical 1957 novel, this film tells the story of a young women from a poor family in early 19th century England who only has one passion: writing. Angel spends all her time writing and dreams of living in the nearby Paradise Mansion; when she pens a best-selling romance novel, she is able to obtain the house of her dreams – and a lifestyle beyond her wildest dreams. Angel is noted for its luxurious costumes and especially for Michael Fassbender’s acclaimed performance.



France| DVD, Color,  81’ | French, German, English

Cast:Melvil Poupaud, Jeanne Moreau, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi

The second film in Ozon’s Trilogy of Death, Time to Leave is the story of Romain, a photographer who realizes he has a terminal illness. After driving away those that are close to him, he later helps a female stranger in unexpected ways. Learning he has a malignant brain tumor, Romain makes his sister cry in the midst of a family dinner, abandons his partner out of the blue, and will not reveal his secret to anyone but his grandmother. But when a waitress he does not know asks him for help, he shows her sympathy. Time to Leave offers a uniquely Ozon-esque approach to the topic of death.


5x2, 2004

France| DVD, Color,  90’ | French, Italian, English

Cast:Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Stéphane Freiss, Françoise Fabian

Marion and Gilles, a fortysomething couple, go to a hotel to make love one last time after signing their divorce papers. Then their story begins to be narrated in reverse, focusing on five major turning points in their five-year-long relationship. The film – whose lead actress Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi won the Pasinetti Award for Best Actress at the 2004 Venice Film Festival – is a compelling cinematic look at the marriage of two people who never manage to want the same thing at the same time.



France, UK | HDD, Color,  102’ | French, English

Cast:Charlotte Rampling, Charles Dance, Ludivine Sagnier

Sarah is a writer of detective novels. Feeling worn out, and searching for inspiration for her new novel, she goes to her publisher’s idyllic house in France to unwind and work on the book. But this ideal scenario is thrown into turmoil with the sudden appearance of the publisher’s daughter Julie. Sarah feels uncomfortable around this young, uninhibited woman, yet her curiosity also impels her to leaf through Julie’s diary. The two women’s interaction sets off a mysterious chain of events leading to greater and greater uneasiness and chaos. Ozon’s first English-language film is a suspenseful detective story with masterful performances by two renowned female actresses. 


8 WOMEN (8 FEMMES), 2002

France, Japan | DVD, Color, 111’ | French, English

Cast:Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, Danielle Darrieux

In 1950s France, in a remote country house, a family has gathered to celebrate Christmas. But the family patriarch has been found murdered, and what should have been a festive Christmas celebration suddenly becomes a drama-filled whodunit. The killer is one of the eight women in the house, and a number of mysterious family secrets will come to light before she is caught. Clearly inspired by 1950s and 1960s melodramas and musicals, 8 Women won the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival.



France, Italy | DVD, Color, 92’ | French, English

Cast:Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot

Marie, a literature professor at a Parisian university, has been with her husband Jean for 25 years; the couple like to spend their summer holidays by the seaside. One day, Marie goes swimming, and Jean vanishes. When Marie leaves the water, she can’t find him anywhere, and no one else has seen him either. Without Jean, Marie’s days are spent in a state of profound self-searching as her life becomes characterized by denial and emotional defeat.



France| DVD, Color, 82’ | French, German

Cast:Bernard Giraudeau, Malik Zidi, Ludivine Sagnier

In 1970s Germany, a young student named Frantz meets Léopold, a businessman in his 50s. After they go to Leopold’s house, the businessman seduces the young student, who falls in love with him; they soon begin living together. But their relationship will become extremely complicated when Anna, Frantz’s former girlfriend, shows up one day. Based on a play written by Rainer Werner Fassbinder when he was only 19 (and which has never been performed), this film was adapted for the big screen by Ozon.



France| DVD, Color, 96’ | French

Cast:Natacha Régnier, Jérémie Renier, Predrag 'Miki' Manojlovic

Alice, a high school student, convinces her boyfriend Luc to murder their classmate Said, telling him that Said has raped her. After the two kill Said, they venture deep into a forest in order to get rid of the body. There, they meet a reclusive stranger, after which their lives will never be the same again. Based on a screenplay by the director, Criminal Lovers is an entirely out-of-the-ordinary love story.


SITCOM, 1998

France| DVD, Color, 85’ | French

Cast: Évelyne Dandry, François Marthouret, Marina de Van

A respected family living in France sees its everyday routine unexpectedly altered after the father brings home a laboratory rat. Everyone who touches the rat undergoes a bizarre transformation in his or her personality, psychology, and even sex life. But the most drastic changes are undergone by the father. Ozon’s first feature film is a surrealistic black comedy abounding in references to American sitcoms.




France| DVD, Color, 25’ | French

Cast: Louis Garrel, Vahina Giocante

A young Frenchman makes plans to leave his girlfriend, who never changes and who behaves much too indifferently towards him.



France| DVD, Color, 26’ | French

Cast:Valérie Druguet, François Delaive, Loïc Even

A series of comic sketches about sexual norms and irrepressible passions.


X2000, 1998

France| DVD, Color, 6’ | French

Cast:Denise Aron-Schropfer, Bruno Slagmulder

A man wakes up feeling groggy in an empty room following a wild New Year’s party.



France| DVD, Color, 58’ | French

Cast:Sasha Hails, Marina de Van

Sasha, living with her newborn daughter, allows a camper named Tatiana to pitch her tent in the garden of the family house. Their relationship grows over time, and they establish a strange sort of rapport.



France| DVD, Color, 15’ | French

Cast:Sébastien Charles, Frédéric Mangenot

While on holiday with his partner, Luc encounters a stranger on the beach. This encounter turns his ambivalence about his sexual identity into a full-fledged dilemma.



France| DVD, Color, 24’ | French

Cast:François Delaive, Camille Japy

Paul, living with his partner, is not on speaking terms with his father, who is on his deathbed. When his sister asks him to visit their father, he realizes that he can never cut off his ties to his family.



France| DVD, Color, 4’ | French

Cast:Farida Rahmatoullah, Aylin Argun

Four youths, playing an innocent game, make discoveries about their budding sexuality. ​



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