François Ozon is one of France’s leading directors, having spent three decades making movies that have received great commercial and critical success. The gay director has made huge movies like 8 Women, Swimming Pool, Potiche and By The Grace Of God with success aplenty at the Cannes Film Festival and the Césars, as well as many LGBT+ independent films, such as Summer Of ‘85, Water Drops On Burning Rocks, Everything Went Fine and Peter Von Kant. Considered one of the “New Wave” of French directors, he also made a plethora of short films throughout his career, several of which have been gathered together by NQV Media and released in this new collection: Ozon: Remastered & Uncut. Take a look at each of the shorts below.
THE SUMMER DRESS
Starring: Frédéric Mangenot, Lucia Sanchez, Sébastien Charles. Director: François Ozon.
Teenage best friends - and sometimes lovers - Sébastien and Luc are on holiday together, but when the latter goes to the beach and meets a forward and seductive girl, the voyage of his sexuality takes a whole new turn. A heady short that’s dripping with eroticism, here we see an uncensored Ozon, unafraid to depict intense sexuality in a way he has done rarely since. Sun-drenched and deliriously sensual, this is a beguiling snapshot of a holiday romance with juicy bits left in.
Starring: Denise Aron-Schropfer, Bruno Slagmulder, Lucia Sanchez, Olivier Le Guevellou, Lionel Le Guevellou, Flavien Coupeau. Director: François Ozon.
A man wakes up on New Year’s Day to an eerily quiet apartment, even though sleeping bodies and the carnage from the night before are all around him. Hungover, he picks his way through the detritus, absorbing the silence and contemplating what remains in his flat. A thoughtful and almost silent rumination on post-drinking regret, this short feels like an art exhibit, with the man silently observing these half-remembered frozen moments left abandoned on his floor.
TRUTH OR DARE
Starring: Farida Rahmatoullah, Aylin Argun, Fabien Billet, Adrien Pastor. Director: François Ozon.
Two girls and two boys play a game of truth or dare. As the game progresses, the dates become more and more sexual, with the four becoming all the more intimately acquainted with each other. An uncomfortable short about teenage curiosity, this has all the hallmarks of a young director still fascinated (or haunted) by the horrors of puberty. Short but punchy, this fragment of adolescent memory is efficiently observed and deftly composed.
SEE THE SEA
Starring: Sasha Hails, Marina de Van, Paul Raoux. Director: François Ozon.
As Sasha waits with her baby for her husband to return from a business trip, the unusual Tatiana turns up on her doorstep asking if she can pitch her tent in the garden. The two gradually strike up a friendship, which slowly progresses into something more. A seaside coming-of-age (albeit late) short film, this is a slow-burner peppered with intriguing sequences like Sasha exploring the cruising ground near to her house and finished with a very dark ending indeed. Continuing Ozon’s connection between sexual awakening and the French coast, this is his short that’s closest to his wider body of work.
THE LITTLE DEATH
Starring: François Delaive, Camille Japy, Martial Jacques. Director: François Ozon.
Paul has grown up believing that his father has rejected him. Having not seen him for six years, he goes to visit him upon hearing that he’s not far from death’s door. His sister and his boyfriend help him to process this approaching loss, as Paul begins to reconcile his anger with a chance at renewal. A bold film that highlights Ozon’s fascination with the human body, positioning his protagonist behind the camera gives us a glimpse of his own self-perception in this emotionally raw film and loss and rebirth.
Retrospectively watching the short films of a master of cinema is always a fascinating process. You can see the seeds of ideas and appearance of motifs that develop throughout their body of work, and in this collection we see all the hallmarks that make Ozon’s films distinctly his. A compellingly rich chocolate box of an auteur’s ideas, this is a brilliant companion piece for fans of French Queer Cinema.
UK Release: 24th October 2022, released by NQV Media