François Ozon (2004)
I've seen Swimming Pool and 8 Femmes, but I was not really so impressed by Ozon's work, until last night I watched 5x2.
Funny really. I did not think I would have even watched more than 10 minutes of it. Watching the first scene I was really in shock. I found it extremely disturbing to watch portrayals of physical pain, and in the first scene this is what it is about in part.
The first scene soon finishes. Then I found out the story is told sort of backwards. The next scene is back to when the couple (Gilles and Marion) are not yet divorced, and we get a glimpse of the couple's interactions as husband and wife in a family of three, and also how they each converse with their guests at dinner. Aren't they meant to be each other's significant other? The indifference between Gilles and Marion is so fierce, especially contrasting against their guests who are in love, one providing stability for the other (well, he says so). Could such indifference lead to divorce? Ozon does not seem to let me interpret it so simply.
Scene three deals with the birth of their son, Marion being left alone in hospital after giving birth, Marion's parents bickering in front of her while she wonders why Gilles is not there for her. I do not know why Gilles is not there for her. I don't think we're informed at all. But I could imagine how horrible it is. Scene four is the wedding, a marvellous one with a hint of bizarreness that I only get to make sense after watching also a deleted scene. I think Ozon deliberately helps us misunderstand the situation by deleting the scene. I say 'helping us to misunderstand it' because this is part of what his story is on about: misunderstanding life is so easy and human relationships are so weak. Anyway, but two couples are compared here: Gilles and Marion, and Marion's parents. Marion thoughtfully looks at her parents happily dancing. What does the look mean?
Then at the last scene, well, the first, well, this is when Marion and Gilles first meet. Hmm. I love it. Again, beautifully shot. (I love swimming! I love the sea! I love sunset!) Gilles is in another relationship which appears rather stale. I don't get to know so much about what's wrong with that relationship, and perhaps we don't need to know, because maybe that is not the point. But this makes the beginning of Marion and Gilles's story (or the ending of this film) rather believable. I say this because I agree with Ozon's message here that knowing is not linear. (Is this previous line understandable?) It is not necessarily because his relationship is stale then he decides he wants to be with someone else, then he meets Marion, then he decides to be with her. No, Ozon presents to us that life is not like that, not all the time. You are not really so sure and you don't really always follow your feelings. Or, you follow your feelings, then later you know what you previously did was not really the best for you. When the present becomes history, you can again, in introspection or retrospection or whatever, try to understand if that was really the best.
"You can only understand your life backwards. But you have to live it forwards."
I am glad to have seen this film also because otherwise I would never have got to read Peter Bradshaw's review of it. I am touched by his words.