1991-2000CrimeDramaFranceFrançois OzonQueer Cinema(s)

François Ozon – Les amants criminels AKA AKA Criminal Lovers (1999)

French bad boy director François Ozon, who caused a stir with his controversial first feature Sitcom (1998) and his shorts A Summer Dress (1997) and See the Sea (1997), creates a dark and brooding tale of transgression and sexuality for his second feature outing. Alice (Natacha Régnier) is a bored, spoiled high schooler with a gorgeous body and a sociopathic mind. She persuades one of her suitors, the naive and trusting Luc (Jeremie Renier), to murder another suitor, the handsome, rakish Said (Salim Kechiouche). The criminal act itself, though exceedingly messy, proves to be the easy part, as disposing of the body becomes the much thornier problem. They throw the corpse in the truck of Luc’s parents’ car and drive to a creepy forested area in Provence. In their haste to bury the body, they lose their way. Without warm clothes or food, they wander deeper into the forest until they happen upon a seemingly deserted shack. At this point, the film’s narrative suddenly mutates from its Badlands-like beginning into a bizarre, horrifying version of Hansel and Gretel. When the resident of the hut returns, he rousts them at gun point into the cellar dungeon, where to their horror they find Said’s exhumed cadaver — missing a leg. It soon becomes apparent that the hermit plans to cook and eat the couple, but not before making Luc his sex slave. Alice quickly realizes that the world does not bend to her whims. Influenced by both Luis Buñuel and Jean-Luc Godard, Ozon’s wickedly baroque film is an assault on the listless bourgeoisie and an exploration of the pitch-black corners of the soul. This film was screened at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival. — Jonathan Crow

1.94GB | 1 h 36 min | 1024×552 | mkv



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