Challenge Week 52: 8 Women

Well, I’ve kept Bas waiting WAY too long on this, plus everyone else waiting for a wrap-up of my Challenge, which was by and large a phenomenal success. More on that…later.

The only François Ozon film I’d seen prior to this was Swimming Pool, which I HATED (though I don’t remember enough about it now to articulate why, I still remember the feeling of dislike toward it), so I had understandably not bothered to seek out any more Ozon or even find out what his other films were. When I looked this one up after Bas assigned it to me, I was pretty instantly sure I was going to like it, though. I mean, a bottle movie with eight women in a house with a dead man that one of them presumably killed but nobody knows who, AND it’s a musical? Yes.

Not only that, but the color palette as well as Catherine Deneuve are borrowed directly from Jacques Demy. It’s like if Demy directed an Agatha Christie story infused by the absurdity of Clue with a cast of all the greatest French actresses from three (!) generations, no joke. Not only Deneuve, but Danielle Darrieux (a classic from French film going back to the 1940s!), Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant, and more. It’s incredible.

Just watching these women interact with each other is the main draw of the film, and it’s a big one. The mystery is enjoyable, too, with lots of deception and double-crosses and double-blinds and surprises. The music is a little less memorable than I would’ve liked (I wasn’t humming it the way I do Michel Legrand themes, and I don’t remember any of the songs now), but very enjoyable while it’s going on. I could see the film going higher on my chart if I do find those songs catching in my head more on rewatch. All in all, this is probably one of the most “me” movies in the whole Challenge, and it wasn’t even on my radar. Great choice from Bas.

Stats and stuff…

2002, France
directed by François Ozon, written by François Ozon and Marina de Van
starring Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Ludivine Sagnier, Firmine Richard

I’m ranking all my Challenge films on Flickchart (as I do all the films I see), a movie-ranking website that asks you to choose your favorite between two movies until it builds a ranked list of your favorites. Just for fun, I will average out the rankings and keep a running tally of whose recommendations rank the highest. When you add a film to Flickchart, it pits it against films already on your chart to see where it should fall. Here’s how 8 Women entered my chart:

8 Women > The Name of the Rose
8 Women > Sleuth (1978)
8 Women < The Three Musketeers (1973)
8 Women > Shenandoah
8 Women > Suspiria
8 Women < Memories of Murder
8 Women > Hanna
8 Women < My Night at Maud’s
8 Women < Black Snake Moan
8 Women > The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
8 Women < The Vagabond (1916)
8 Women < Justin Morgan Had a Horse

Final #551 out of 3746 (85%)

It is now my #1 François Ozon film, my #4 Catherine Deneuve film, my #1 Isabelle Huppert film, my #11 Black Comedy, my #21 Comedy of Manners, my #33 Ensemble Film, and my #7 film of 2002.

8 Women was recommended by Bas van Stratum, a friend from the Flickcharters group on Facebook.

A Few More Screencaps