See the Sea
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.See the Sea is a 1997 French film written and directed by Francois Ozon and starring Sasha Hails as a young British mother living in a small seaside village in France who takes in a malevolent homeless drifter (played by Marina de Van) while her husband is away on business.Description above from the Wikipedia article See the Sea, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.
A colorful yet eerie film about a lonely housewife meeting a mysterious drifter while on holiday at an island in France as it's one of Francois Ozon's great early triumphs.
Regarde La Mer [See The Sea] exists in a strange place between short film and feature. At 51 minutes it is really neither one nor the other. Ozon's final short before embarking on Sitcom, his first feature, See The Sea is a supremely assured piece of work from a young director finding his voice.
Hails plays a young English woman living by the sea in France with her baby daughter, her French husband away on business. One day a backpacker (DeVan) arrives and asks if she can pitch her tent in their garden for a few days. The two women strike up a tentative friendship and that's as much as I'll say about the plot, because it goes in directions…
Really liked Ozon's Swimming Pool but this one is much more disturbing despite its very low key approach. I liked the fact that both characters have some boundary issues to put it mildly. Very happy Ozon didn't try to pad out the films 50+ minute run time in order to make it more substantial as it works just fine as is. Really solid performances by all three actresses (baby included) and an excellent job by Ozon with the subtle, slow burn storytelling.
Looking to be all about contrast and that arty, slow burning tension, See the Sea, instead, fills the viewer with an indescribable, almost subconscious dread from frame one. We don't quite know what unbelievably horrible occurrence is going to befall the main character and (or) her child, but we full well expect one to crop up between any of the soft, seaside picnics, or nerve-racking infant screaming fits. Lurching languidly between surreal sexual encounters and frank avoidance of confrontation, Ozon seems to control his main character and a mysterious drifter with mixed motives: he's never sure who he wants us to sympathize with, because it appears that he himself isn't sure. By close (the outcome I'll not reveal), the genius…
Film 6 of my December Challenge.
Short film which bubbles along nicely, gently inserting a blade into you before twisting it sharply at the end, then wrenching it away.
Okay, so maybe the twist could be seen from a fair way away, but the build up to it is well paced and beautifully delivered. Dialogue is minimal, but the film still works its charms to bring the viewer into the lives of the few characters it features.
It's a cause for concern when a 51 minute film has you thinking it's stretched its premise way beyond the time it should occupy. There are here some interesting ideas of sexuality and familial responsibility, but the initially intriguing idea just can't hold the attention for the entire running time. Solid performances aside, the intended eeriness never really comes off, making this a curious little film, but a bit of a bore.