Saturday, July 27, 2013
1001 Overlooked Movies: 8 Women(2002).
The Movie Waffler is hosting a fun Blogathon that I am proud to be a part of. It is called the "1001 Most Overlooked Movies That You Should See Before You Die". Inspired by the book "1001 Movies You Should See Before You Die." This collection of films are ones that were ignored but we feel they are worth a look at. My Choice is a little french, murder, mystery, musical called "8 Women"
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Hubert, Ludivne Sagnier.
Writers: Francois Ozon, Marina de Van, Robert Thomas.
Director: Francois Ozon
*** and a 1/2 *'s out of four.
At a Wealthy Country Estate during Christmas break. A family and their servants are getting ready to celebrate the holidays. When the owner of the house is found dead with a knife in his back. Foul play is mentioned and the 8 women involved have all become suspects. As the night goes on secrets about each women will be revealed. The truth about the murder will be solved and some songs will be sung.
The suspects include Gaby (Cathreine Deneuve) who plays the recent wife of the victim. Catherine(Ludivine Sagnier),Suzon(Virginie Ledoyen) and Augestine(Issablle Huppert) as the victim's daughters. Pierrette(Fanny Ardant) who is the victim's sister. Louise(Emmanuelle Beart) and Madame Chanel(Firimine Richard) are the chambermaid and cook of the estate. The last suspect is Mamy(Danielle Darrieux) the matriarch of the household.
Right from the lush sweeping score of it's opening credits. We are put into the time frame of a late 50's style mellow drama. Something in the style of say Douglas Sirk. But this is not going to be anything too dramatic as the story progresses. After the opening credits and the camera has zoomed into a window outside of a large estate. We are inside at what looks like a staged replica of a living room. Notice how everything on set including the chairs seems to be facing towards the camera IE the audience. Even the actors are placed in a way that makes this look like a stage play that happens to be filmed. I admire the risk Ozon and crew took with shooting the movie this way. Most other directors when adapting a stage play would have had the whole stage element removed, but this one runs with it. This style is completely intentional and if you are not hooked on this gimmick by the end of the first musical number. Then this movie is not for you. I was not expecting this to be a musical when I first watched it, and at first it was a little strange. But luckily most of the songs were catchy enough for me to stick with it.
( Music video used to promote the film.)
As the movie went on. I found myself becoming more and more interested in each of the women's side story more then the mystery about who killed the owner. That element is nothing more then a mcguffin(Think of the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction") and nothing more. Each of the actresses do a real nice job with their role and for the most part each of their own songs were enjoyable too. I'm not going to rush out and buy the soundtrack, but in the context of this movie. They work perfectly.
The director of this musical is Francois Ozon who made the thriler "Swimming Pool"(also staring Ludivine Sagnier) and the comedy "Potiche"(also starring Catherine Deneuve). He is known for not doing the same type of movie twice and with "8 Women". He has created a musical that stands apart from more recent entries in this genre. While also paying homage to some of the well known classics. The opening credits are done in the same kind of style as "My Fair Lady" with it's bright pastal like hue to the look of it. The cinematography through the rest of it uses a lot of bright primary colors that remind me a lot of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg". It's a very underated musical that more people should watch and I hope to see more movies with this kind of style too.