Monday, 8 November 2010
Francois Ozon's The Refuge at ACMI
"A spellbinding film" - Los Angeles Times
"honest, elegant and beautiful" - Damien Magee, ABC 702 Sydney
"**** (4 stars)" - The List, Edinburgh
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) once again takes up a new work by ground-breaking French director François Ozon with a season of The Refuge (2009) opening 2 December, 2010.
Mousse (Isabelle Carré) and Louis (Melvil Poupaud) are young, beautiful, rich and in love. Mousse wakes from a drug-induced coma to discover her lover has died of an overdose and she is pregnant. She retreats to a secluded seaside villa where she sees through her pregnancy while battling addiction and loss. Months later she is joined by her deceased lover's brother Paul (Louis-Ronan Choisy) and through a series of deceptively casual incidents, a deeply charged relationship develops.
Ozon elicits fine performances from a radiant 6-months pregnant Carré and pop star-turned actor Louis-Ronan Choisy (who also composed the title tune which features), again proving himself to be a deft hand at revealing the ambiguities that simmer beneath human relationships.
A hallmark of Ozon's films, is his recurring exploration of femininity. His previously praised works include Swimming Pool (2003) with Charlotte Rampling, 8 Women (2002) starring leading ladies Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Deneuve, and Criminal Lovers (1999). The Refuge again features a strong female lead character, this time further teasing out his fascination with pregnancy and maternal instinct. Yet, at no time does Ozon venture to using stereotypes when exploring the theme of motherhood, nor when representing love, drug addiction or homosexuality.
Making its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival and awarded the Special Jury Prize at San Sebastian International Film Festival, The Refuge is but another in a long list of films attracting praise for Ozon whose impressive output has seen him release a film a year for the past 12 years. Earlier this year, ACMI championed Ozon's whimsical story of maternity, Ricky (2008), and in 2007 presented a complete overview of his artistic output in Focus On Francois Ozon.
As the programmer of multiple Ozon seasons at ACMI, Film Programmer Kristy Matheson admits to a fascination with his work, in particular, his characters. "There is a real sense of ambiguity with all of Ozon's characters that fascinates me. I love that he continues to take risks by exploring the fine nuances that drive people's behaviour. His films provide a breath of fresh air from the flood of one dimensional characters and relationships that are so often presented in cinema and pop culture at large".
The Refuge (2009) will screen in ACMI's First Look program from Thursday 2 December to Sunday 12 December 2010.
For session information: www.acmi.net.au/first_look.aspx
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654