DIY Cannes 2013: Swimming Pool

swimming-pool-5To stave off the depression of not being at Cannes while everyone I follow on Twitter gabs about their new favorite discoveries, I’ve decided to take the opportunity and hold my own film festival. Every night, I’m going to watch a movie I haven’t seen by one of the director’s debuting on the Croisette. Thanks to the power of Netflix, so many foreign movies and older auteur classics are available for Instant Streaming. Who knows what discoveries I might find along the way?

Movie #7: Swimming Pool

Director: François Ozon

His Cannes 2013 Movie: Young & Beautiful (Jeune et Jolie)

No genre gets more flack than the erotic thriller. Even at the sound of the words I can see Sharon Stone uncrossing her legs and I’ve never even seen Basic Instinct. But there is a world in which the erotic thriller is a noble cause to make some sort of commentary on the fucked-up sexual politics of modern society.

Swimming Pool is not the movie for the job. When the author of a series of stuffy British crime novels, Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling), needs time to find inspiration for her next book, her publisher (Charles Dance) lets her use his country home in the south of France. After a few successful days of writing there alone, her publisher’s bizarrely accented teenage daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) shows up to enjoy the summer. The two co-habitate, if not always happily, until Sarah becomes more interested in the wanton sex and detached life that Julie leads.

Even as I write out this plot description, I’m getting titillated, but the formal styling of Ozon really gets in the way. The deliberate pacing of the movie I’m sure is meant to let tensions simmer, but instead allows them to evaporate. Any real advancement, character or plot wise, is given time to breathe but no air. Everything sits quietly in its place until it gets its one chance to gasp for air, but then its stifled back down by some British repression.

Although if you’re here for the erotic and not the thriller, you’ll get your fair share. Even Charlotte Rampling shows off her stuff. And boy does Ludivine Sagnier look good. I just wish I got to see Tywin Lannister strip down… Alas.

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