A Safe Place: François Ozon's "Le Refuge"

By robbiefreeling | REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog September 8, 2010 at 4:32AM

At this point, it’s safe to say François Ozon is clearly neither the rabble-rousing enfant terrible he first seemed nor the stealth subversive mainstream filmmaker he might have evolved into. After grabbing the attention of a late-Nineties film world starved for a formidable European art cinema with such haute shockers as See the Sea (which offered a toxic equation of murder and motherhood), Sitcom (incest, leather, and erections, oh my!), and Criminal Lovers (a bondage-and-gay-rape Hansel and Gretel), not to mention the rigorous Fassbinder adaptation Water Drops on Burning Rocks (a seeming announcement of intentions if there ever was one), Ozon subtly shifted to middlebrow art-house mode. The transition was at first elegant, as 2001’s Under the Sand, though an accessible character study of a middle-class professor rebuilding her life after her husband’s inexplicable disappearance, seemed a provocative extension of See the Sea’s profoundly unsettling social rupture. Read Michael Koresky's review of Le Refuge.
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At this point, it’s safe to say François Ozon is clearly neither the rabble-rousing enfant terrible he first seemed nor the stealth subversive mainstream filmmaker he might have evolved into. After grabbing the attention of a late-Nineties film world starved for a formidable European art cinema with such haute shockers as See the Sea (which offered a toxic equation of murder and motherhood), Sitcom (incest, leather, and erections, oh my!), and Criminal Lovers (a bondage-and-gay-rape Hansel and Gretel), not to mention the rigorous Fassbinder adaptation Water Drops on Burning Rocks (a seeming announcement of intentions if there ever was one), Ozon subtly shifted to middlebrow art-house mode. The transition was at first elegant, as 2001’s Under the Sand, though an accessible character study of a middle-class professor rebuilding her life after her husband’s inexplicable disappearance, seemed a provocative extension of See the Sea’s profoundly unsettling social rupture. Read Michael Koresky's review of Le Refuge.