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5 X 2

Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Freiss) are a French couple whose unhappy marriage is chronicled backwards through five episodes, starting with their divorce and ending with their first encounter at an Italian seaside resort.

Review by Louise Keller:
Peeling off the emotional layers one by one, François Ozon's 5 X 2 reveals intimate snapshots of a relationship, simply but searingly. Honing in on a married couple's pivotal moments, from the bitter end to the romantic beginning, Ozon has divided his riveting tale about infidelity into five segments, telling us the story backwards.

We know the ending straight away, but Ozon is mostly interested in the intricate and significant details that allow us to dig beneath the superficial. Like a jigsaw puzzle in which the relationship is the picture, the pieces begin to fit as we learn more about these two people who share a past. (Ozon takes the inspiration for the film's structure from Jane Campion's 1986 tv drama, Two Friends)

We first meet Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Freiss) in a sterile legal office as they mechanically go through the motions of dividing their assets and making custody arrangements for their young son. But the complexities of their sexual needs and fantasies jump out at us, when after the divorce, they return to a hotel room together. Wearing a towel as she slips under the sheets ('we're no longer married'), Marion asks Gilles to kiss her. But as they start to make love, she changes her mind.

The clock jumps back to a dinner at home, when Gilles reveals details of an infidelity. Another jump in time and we are at the hospital when Marion is about to give birth, and tears that run down her face mirror the rain that washes across the windscreen of Gilles' parked car. Then Marion is an ecstatic bride in white, but the wedding night reveals a secret. And finally, at a beach resort in Italy, when all the promise of a love affair lies ahead, there's a happy beginning, as they swim together into the sunset.

The two central performances are superb and Ozon uses music as a friend. The structure startles, allowing us to share the whole gamut of emotions that Gilles and Marion experience. From contempt, resentment and indifference to the flush of first attraction, each segment offers a new mood, a different style. As tense as a good thriller, 5 X 2 fascinates and the optimism with which the film ends, has a bitter sweet resonance.

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5 X 2 (MA)
(France, 2004)

Cinq fois deux

CAST: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Stéphane Freiss, Géraldine Pailhas, Françoise Fabian, Michael Lonsdale, Antoine Chappey, Marc Ruchmann

PRODUCER: Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier

DIRECTOR: François Ozon

SCRIPT: François Ozon, Emmanuèle Bernheim


EDITOR: Monica Coleman

MUSIC: Philippe Rombi


RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 24, 2005 (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth)

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