Monday, September 01, 2003

Ludivine Sagnier: the mediterranean Marilyn Monroe?Waving, not Drowning

Francois Ozon's Swimming Pool (2003) features Charlotte Rampling as a writer of detective novels whose creativity has dried up along with her arid sexuality. She takes up the offer of staying at publisher Charles Dance's country house in France but finds her idyllic seclusion disrupted by the unannounced arrival of Dance's voluptuous and promiscuous daughter (Ludivine Sagnier in a starmaking role). Initially annoyed, she finds her repressed persona slowly unravelling under the influence of the younger girl with liberating results for her work. However, the discovery of a dead body gives the mystery writer the tightest deadline of all to tie up the loose ends into a neat conclusion that will save her life and career.

Ozon's multi-layered picture features many of the classic elements of arthouse cinema - the secluded country house; a murder mystery; iconic leading performances; reawakening sensuality and shifting identities in the heightened atmosphere of an isolated environment. There is a health warning though - the movie features that other standby of independent cinema - the infuriatingly ambiguous climax that will leave cinemagoers scratching their heads and arguing on messageboards about the true meaning of it all.

However, if you like your films dense with subtext and dripping with symbolism, and you have the patience to stick with the film's early and deliberate slow pace, Swimming Pool offers a cool and rewarding experience.


Post a Comment

<< Home