Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Criminal Lovers (Francois Ozon, 1999)

Criminal Lovers is a twisted, queer postmodern version of the Hansel and Gretel myth. Two young lovers (Natacha Regnier and Jeremie Renier, from L'Enfant) kill a fellow student, then drive out to the country to hide the body in a forest. They lose sight of their car after burying the body, but that is only the beginning of their problems. If you know the Hansel and Gretel story, you can pretty much guess what's going to happen next, but Ozon adds some interesting twists to the story. Luc, Renier's character, has been unable to have sex with Alice, but things happen to make him more traditionally masculine. After their encounter with the man in the forest, Luc's masculinity is defined, even though he finds it through untraditional means. Then, there's the competition/attraction between Luc and Said, the student they kill; at times, it seems that Luc is jealous of Said's connection with Alice, and at others, like he is more attracted to Said than to Alice. These postmodern twists make the story fresh and highly interesting.

To me, Ozon's films are more about the visuals than the actual story (see my post of stills, be warned of spoilers). The visuals in this film are stunning, dark and creepy, like some fairy tales are. While the ending might not seem happy, there are surprisingly bright moments near the end of the film, where we feel that the characters have come to their logical ends. But, like other Ozon I have seen, the story is lacking in comparison to the visuals. It is an interesting story, but not handled that impressively, as it could have been a great movie, but, as it is, it's a pretty good one.


RIYL: Catherine Breillat

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