2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

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The Blog:
Sunday, February 02, 2003
Some Short Thoughts on Francois Ozon's 8 Women

I am not sure that Ozon likes women, but he likes actresses - Catherine Deneuve

What to make of this film? Certainly, to me at least, it was a let down after last year's masterpiece, Under the Sand. But then again, I generally do not like excercises in irony, for irony sake, and as far as Neo-Sirkian films go, Todd Hayne's Far From Heaven beats this film hands down (even though this film directly references All That Heaven Allows early in the film). Born out of a frustrated desire to remake Cukor's 1939 film The Women (according to S&S the rights to that material are held by Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts), but instead adapted from some lesser known French play from the 1960s, 8 Women stars, well eight women, most of whom are luminaries in French film, that all have dark secrets and motives which may have led them to kill the only man in the house (who remains off camera for most of the film, and when we do see him, it's from the back). Ozon makes no attempts to hide the film's theatricality or artificiality, from the obviously painted winter backdrops, through the bizzarre musical numbers (where each actress sings some French pop song and does some basic choreography), to the final curtain call. That and the action is mostly confined to one, oppulent set, with characters that are immaculately coifed and dressed (with helpful color-coding, introduced in the credits; each actress name appears on screen, along with a flower, whose petals match their clothing). The increasingly melodramatic revelations (let's see, there was theft, infidelity, frigidity, lesbianism, vamping, prostitution, murder, incest, and that's just the start) pretty much shoots for absurdity straight out of the gate, allowing a level of bitchiness, catfighting, scheming, lying, conniving, shrewishness etc., etc. that would make the writers of Dynasty blush (actually, think of several seasons of Dynasty or Dallas compressed into a two-hour span). That these fairly horrible women drive an apparently good man to despair and suicide, only leaves a bitter impression with the audience, even if the entire thing is one big joke.

And while all the actresses give various degrees of mannered and campy performances, I wish they all would have pushed it over the edge like Isabelle Huppert, who played a character so manic and wound-up I thought her head was going to explode, and Danielle Darrieux (to a lesser extent) who played her miserly, lying, alcoholic, murderess with a sublime twinge of goofiness. Nope, I'm not really sure I liked this film, even if it did feature Catherine Deneuve and Fanny Ardant making out (Virginie Ledoyen and Emmanuelle Beart, well that's another story, viva la France!)