It’s rare to see anyone’s earliest works after they’ve hit the big time. But Queer Screen has packaged up Fran?s Ozon’s entire short film catalogue for this month’s Retrospective screening.
The 38-year-old director is now one ofFrance’s leading directors, best known for his feature films Swimming Pool, Eight Women, Under The Sand and his new film 5×2, which opens next week.
Ozon’s short films exude the energy of a man confident with his sexuality. He’s happy to subvert ideas of sexual identity. His films are in turn adventurous, often funny, sometimes dark, sometimes challenging and frequently populated by naked people with sex on their mind.
Among the films screening is Summer Dress, a gorgeous romp in the sand as a young gay man gets laid by a strange woman at the beach before racing back to the arms of his boyfriend. Then there’s X2000, a strangely amusing film that is perhaps little more than an excuse for filming three naked couples as they sleep, fuck or wander about an apartment building on the first morning of the new millennium.
Also featured on the program are two films with more serious undertones: Little Death and the deeply ambiguous See The Sea, which is downright unnerving. A beautiful young mother is waiting at an isolated cottage for her husband to come back from a business trip when a young woman camper asks to pitch her tent in the yard. You soon work out that the camper is rather scary and has wicked intentions. But what those are you won’t find out until the final frames flicker past the screen. See The Sea won the Best Film Award at New York’s New Work Festival but is rarely shown these days.
A favourite is Little Death about a young gay photographer’s journey to forgive his dying father. The film’s title refers to the French expression for orgasm which they refer to as a little death and it references the photographer’s practice of photographing men at their precise moment of orgasm. The film is a touching exploration of the tensions that run through many families with gay sons and daughters.
Shorts By Ozon screens at the Verona Cinema, Wednesday 23 November at 8:45pm. Tickets from MCA Ticketing 1300 306 776 or at the Queer Screen website.