8 Women | Chicago Reader

8 Women

A factory owner is found dead, and the finger of guilt passes from one occupant of his glamorous home to another: his coolly fashionable wife (Catherine Deneuve), his willful daughters (Virginie Ledoyen and Ludivine Sagnier), his morally loose sister (Fanny Ardant), his miserly mother-in-law (Danielle Darrieux), his neurotic sister-in-law (Isabelle Huppert), and the home's two domestics (Firmine Richard and Emmanuelle Beart). Francois Ozon directed this slaphappy musical melodrama (2002), drawing on Douglas Sirk for his dramatic mise-en-scene and Vincente Minnelli for his saturated color schemes and iconic handling of the stars. The scandalous secrets come tumbling out in such profusion that the women's issues are buried, and by the end the mystery has begun to crumple of its own weight. But the French screen royalty assembled by Ozon and the film's sheer exuberance in its own artifice make this a delight from beginning to end. In French with subtitles.

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