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8 Femmes

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2003 · No Comments

Last night Jen and I watched the nutty 8 Femmes (8 Women), the 2002 film by Francois Ozon. Although Jen had originally suggested this movie to be a chick flick, in the end, I was a bigger fan of it than was my wife. Strange sound quality on the DVD aside (super-loud background music and practically muted voice track, albeit in French), this movie has it all: Murder, mystery, song, dance, incest, sex, dark secrets, comedy, and, of course, a French maid. I had no idea that I was in for such a treat.

I’m a big fan of the wacky and unusual. Who knew there was even a film out there that is both murder mystery and musical? I had no idea what to expect from 8 Femmes (that it was a mystery musical or anything else), so that made the film an extra-special treat for me.

The premise is simple enough: 8 women stranded in the middle of a snowstorm (whose severity is emphasized by a dramatic shot of the cook’s shoes coated with a light sprinkling of snow) trying to figure out who killed the monsieur of the estate. Was it the money-obsessed wife motivated to inherit her husband’s fortune? Was it the wife’s jealous sister, a virgin in love with the monsieur? The maid? The cook? The mysterious sister of the monsieur, who shows up late telling lies? Or maybe the wife’s crazy mother, living in the estate and unwilling to sell her bonds? It’s very Clue-like in that sense. But it goes way beyond the mundane. And with each turn, it’s anything but simple.

The more I think about this film, the more I love it. Thinking about it now brings a smile and laughter to my face. I guessed whodunnit…sort of. As any crazy film by Ozon should, 8 Femmes has a twist that’s hard to predict.

Jen, in her uncanny ability to never forget a face, identified the younger sister character (Catherine), as the sexy star (Ludivine Sagnier) of Ozon’s 2003 equally unique Swimming Pool, in which she plays Julie, a young temptress who spends most of the film’s 103 minutes walking around naked, having sex, and, of course, swimming (naked). Any bets on whether I liked that one, too?

Tags: movies