1 min

Marriage reversal

Weddings are not a happy ending

QUEER TRUST. Stéphane Freiss and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (couple on the left) star in François Ozon's 5x2. Credit: Xtra files

French filmmaker François Ozon follows up 2002’s stylish camp fest 8 Women and 2003’s chimerical thriller Swimming Pool with a compelling and unsettling look at one couple’s relationship told through five episodes receding in time – hence the title 5×2.

The film opens with handsome Marion and Gilles (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Stéphane Freiss) numbly signing their divorce papers, a scene quickly followed by a troubling and enigmatic sexual confrontation. The pair- especially Marion – is not behaving as you’d expect.

The second episode is crucial in delineating the movie’s theme – the role of trust in a relationship – exposing the story’s queer roots in the process. It’s some time before the divorce. Gilles’ gay brother arrives at the couple’s apartment for dinner, soon to be joined by his younger, non-monogamous boyfriend. The quartet has one of those quintessentially French evenings of wine and heady conversation. The homos affect blithe condescension towards heterosexual notions of fidelity. Confessions are made. But who’s being honest?

By reversing time, Ozon plays with audience expectations without betraying our trust. Answers to key questions are forthcoming, but each answer raises more questions and you want to go forward in time to see how they play out… but can’t.

Written by Ozon and Swimming Pool alumnus Emmanuèle Bernheim, 5×2 cunningly evokes the experience of being in a living relationship, where you don’t know what the future holds and where weddings are anything but happy endings.

Ozon will attend the screening of 5×2 at 6:30pm on Wed, Sep 15 at the Elgin Theatre.