5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

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5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby trevor826 » Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:59 pm

Oh dear, where to start on this one.

5 scenes covering a relationship from inception, marriage, pregnancy, meltdown, divorce.

The film copies the broken, reversed style of Memento, Irreversible, 21 Grams etc but without any rhyme or reason, seems like a case of jumping on the boat except the boat has already left port.

We open with the divorce and the couple meeting in a hotel room after for some post marital sex? during which the wife says "no, stop!" The man stops but within seconds he has pressed his ex wife flat to the bed face down and he rapes her. After, the woman has dressed and cleaned herself up, she tries to leave the room and her ex husband comes out with a truly pitiful remark like "can we try again".

You can't feel anything for the characters because they are vacuous and shallow, why did they marry? who's baby is it? what are the causes of the disintegration of the relationship? At the end/start of it it's more a case of who cares!

Reviews for the film are very mixed and unfortunately I must side with the negatives on this one.

For more indepth and opposing opinions, please use the following link - 5x2 opinions.

Cheers Trev

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby A » Sat May 06, 2006 7:09 pm

Saw it again for the 2nd time, this time on a (german) DVD.

Unfortunately I must say that the image seemed to lose a lot of its depth and plasticity in the transfer. It seemed more like something made for TV, and also the nuanced lighting didn't really come through. Maybe this has to do with the fine and grainy film-material itself that wasn't adequately captured on this digital medium. The divorce at the beginning that seemed to me reminiscent of Bergman, through camera and lighting, was nowhere as stark and high-contrast as I recalled to remember it.
But back to the film itself.
The structure that was surprising when seen for the first time, obviously didn't work as well in a re-viewing. But because I knew what was coming, I could concentrate more on the unspoken intricacies between the two protagonists. Sometimes startled at first, too mch seemed obvious to me this time. Maybe I have by now broadened my own experiences to an extent that the behaviour of the couple seemed more "normal" - as weird as this term might seem in reference to their cowardly and self-destructive behaviour. What we have is an ordinary middle-class couple, introverted an not really aware of their own needs and desires. Throughout their relationship they will, explore themselves more and more, a task they have obviously never learned in their previous lives. The woman is - like many times in Ozon films - the stronger and the smarter one, walking away at the end with a new sense of her position in life. Her ex-husband it seems hasn't learned as much, and is in the course of repeating the same mistake again. And probably for the umptenth time. His previous relationship, which is presented to us briefly at the end of the film, hasn't worked out for similar reasons. The film is not as distant and observing as it had seemed to me, in fact Ozon quite often tries to pull us into it through plot-devices and camera and editing techniques that are at times quite conventional. And the hopelessness of the situation is only due to a restricted frame of mind, experiences that haven't been gathered, and the immaturity of the leads.
At one point we see Marion (the female lead, played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) having a sexual encounter with a stranger in her wedding night. We see how she wonders, if she really loves her husband, if she can do without touching another man again, and probing these questions through this opportunity. The next morning, she runs back to her husband, afraid of the consequences of her deed, only to find him sleeping in bed. She embraces him and continuosuly whispers "I love you" into his ear. A confirmation, as much to herself as to him, but why exactly she hadn't been so sure of herself before, can be witnessed in other scenes. In one, the husband is afraid to be present at the birth of his child, at another he shows how little he knows his wife, when he retells a sexual encounter he had on a party, while his wife was present. At first glance both seem to fit quite well together, but they now so little about themsleves and the other that they constantly miss each other - physically and emotionally. The end was already planted in the beginning, but as is the case with most couples, shortcomings and conflicts are ingored until it is too late.
Ozon discusses again his favorite topics, though without the bite and satire obvious in his strongest works. Here he displays more his humanist side, making us understand and "forgive" both parts more or less equally. Maybe he was trying to sort out some of his own past relationships. He succeeds, though he doesn't really seem to be too much involved with the topics presented anymore.
In the end still a fine film about the disintegration of a couple that is still in search of themselves and the meaning of love. The end is nevertheless positive, because a fulfillment might be closer to grasp than before. And it seems that at least the female protagonist won't make the same mistakes in the future. A necessary move onwards for the protagonist as well as the viewer, who might have learned a lesson or two about himself after watching this film.

personal rating: 68 out of 100

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby arsaib4 » Sat May 06, 2006 9:22 pm

"I could concentrate more on the unspoken intricacies between the two protagonists."

Thats in fact part of the problem I had with the film: I just didnt think that there were enough moments where Ozon allowed us to contemplate their interactions. His characters seemed rigid, boxed-in, like they werent allowed to grow on their own; instead they were dependent on the films backward chronological structure.

"At one point we see Marion (the female lead, played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) having a sexual encounter with a stranger in her wedding night. We see how she wonders, if she really loves her husband, if she can do without touching another man again, and probing these questions through this opportunity."

Thats true, but I think this scenario truly depends on whether one finds her actions plausible. Perhaps Ozon couldve chosen another set-up in order to elicit her emotions... I'm not sure. On the other hand, this film is about challenging, and even attacking, the notion of fidelity.

"Here he displays more his humanist side, making us understand and "forgive" both parts more or less equally."

Interesting. But one could also make a case that Ozons characters are actually quite hollow, both morally and emotionally. And he perhaps doesnt do enough to justify their behavioral patterns.

I will say that I remember 5 x 2 better than some of the other films I've watched (and liked) since then. Maybe it's a sign.

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby A » Sat May 06, 2006 10:53 pm

I agree, that he could have maybe used other ways of making some points. But the way he filmed the encounter between Marion and the stranger was very much reminiscent of Marion and her husband and the "rape" scene at the beginning. So the beginning of the film shows us again where Marion falls into the trap of her "submissive" behavioural patterns (though she tries to fight it more this time), and the scene "before", deepens our understanding of her character.
I don't think the characters are hollow. They are very introvertive, and unsure about themselves and their feelings. Both have imo what you could call an "inferiority complex", constantly trying to prove themselves, re-determine their image of themselves, etc.
I would call them immature, not hollow. But why Ozon doesn't give us "more", is probably because he wants to make us think about ourselves, to make it possible to find ourselves in the characters somewhere (I found myself in both quite a lot, actually). If they would be more clearly rendered, everything would seem more determined. It is also only a fragment of their relationship that is shown, though all of the moments are crucial.
I think it fits more Ozon`s technique as a filmmaker, not to judge but to observe, as well as get the viewer to interact with the film on their own.
But as you can see from my rating, I don't value it highly. Maybe those grades are worth something in the end

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby arsaib4 » Sun May 07, 2006 2:53 am

You make an interesting point about the "rape" scene(s), although I'm doubtful regarding Marion's submissiveness and if that was what Ozon tried to portray.

Maybe Ozon should've hired actors that didn't come across as cerebral as Tedeschi and Feiss. That's where we perhaps differ the most in terms of their characters and how they handled themselves.

I think a couple of other members have also seen this film, so it'll be interesting to read their comments and opinions.

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby trevor826 » Sun May 07, 2006 1:59 pm

Unusually for me I haven't made the effort to see 5x2 since my comments. I will try and fit it in sometime just to see if my initial opinion has changed.

Cheers Trev.

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby Anasazie » Mon May 08, 2006 2:40 am

I've seen it, but it was a year ago and i remember being very disappointed. I didn't feel like it was anything new and i really had a problem with the narrative structure. I find that kind of approach a bit tacky, it was just a cheap gimmick. It was also a bit too objective because even if the device was there in order to convey some kind of idea about the pivotal moments in relationships being quite specific it's not working because that's a subjective thing, it's a personal thing, not a collective experience. The pivotal moments in a relationship would be different for each member of the relationship. I thought it was interesting for a while, but ultimately highly flawed and unoriginally presumtuous of what those pivotal moments are.

After seeing it i felt that Ozon had kind of lost his way since Under the Sand, but he's redeemed himself a bit with his latest offering "Le Temp Qui Reste", which was very very simple, but quite pure and transcendental, it rang true with me. Not anywhere near as strong or evocative as Under the Sand, but my hope for this film-maker has gone somewhere towards being restored.

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby A » Mon May 08, 2006 10:12 am

I think I understand and share most of your reservations and disappointments with the film, though they don't affect the overall film for me that much.

From Ozon I haven't seen his newest, and "Water drops on burning rocks", yet (along with some of his shorts - he really made a lot before starting feature films.)
My favorite so far would be "Under the Sand" , followed by his short "A summer's dress" (which I didn't care for at all, when I saw it the first time ).

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby Anasazie » Tue May 09, 2006 4:57 am

Water Drops on Burning Rocks would be probably be my second favourite and i like the short he made about the photographer who captured men in climatic moments.

Re: 5x2 - Ozon (2004) (France)

Postby A » Tue May 09, 2006 4:50 pm

Yes, "le petit mort", how the french ironically call the male orgasm. I also liked it.
I saw a few excerpts from "Water drops on burning rocks", and they seemed interesting. But of course I'd like to see Ozon taking on Fassbinder.

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