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Swimming Pool (Francois Ozon)

Swimming Pool

–2003, Francois Ozon

“Swimming Pool,” (Francois Ozon, 2003) is, in theory (and according to the posters) ‘the summer’s sexiest mystery.’ It may be that–I haven’t seen any other mysteries this summer, let alone any sexy ones. But that tagline is a little misleading. I would be more likely to call it an intelligent, well-acted, and yes, sexy look at the relationship between writer and muse, fact and fiction. The mystery part is far from the most important feature.

Charlotte Rampling plays Sarah Morton, a British crime-fiction writer in need of a vacation and some new inspiration. Her publisher (and lover?) lends her his house in France to rest and seek new ideas. However, her rest is cut short by the discovery that the house is haunted–not by ghosts, but by the publisher’s oversexed daughter, Julie, played by the luscious Ludivine Sagnier, soon to be seen as Tinkerbell in the new “Peter Pan.” What follows is a clash of generations as well as nationalities: the older British woman is uptight, sleeping with earplugs and living off yogurt, while the French girl swims nude in the leaf-filled pool, brings home a different man each night, and stuffs herself on foie gras and expensive whisky. Rampling’s emotions are discernible only by the slightest facial movements, while Sagnier is alternately hysterical and indolent, but always very physically present. One might call her the id to Rampling’s superego: together they create her story.

Enough psychoanalytical drivel, though. You want to know–is it a good movie?

I think so. It’s got nearly everything I want in a film: excellent acting, a thoughtful story, original characters, women who don’t end up needing some man, and I left the theater thinking at the end. Plus, for those of you who’d rather drool than think, there are plenty of scenes of the lovely Sagnier’s bare breasts and bikini-clad body.

So basically, there’s something for everyone. What are you waiting for?


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