Swimming Pool – 2003

swimming poolEvery so often a director appears with a vision that is so deeply rooted in cinematic language that the resultant film seems to be born solely out of their thoughts. So is the case with Francois Ozon’s Swimming Pool.

While the characters may be cultural clichés this merely allows the viewer to have a simple access route to the greater film. Both Rampling and Sagnier are sublime in their roles as two unwilling counterparts. The film superficially centres on the power struggle these women find themselves in.

But this is not the real story of Swimming Pool. The real intrigue of the film lies in the search for truth among creation. As the story becomes more and more complex and contrived you can’t help but to re-engage your disbelief and wonder if this is all another creation of a fevered writer, which of course, it is. The film is about writing, about the sinister and arcane act of creating characters, people, out of thin air. Rampling’s character, a detective story author, comes to France to find inspiration for a new story. The question is whether what we see is her story or her inspiration? Who is to say that this imaginative immersion is not simply her creative process? The very act of writing is a form of invention, so how can we trust a writer to every show us the truth?

However what is even more exciting than considering the intricacies and thoughts behind Swimming Pool is that despite making such a vivd and lucid film on these themes Francois Ozon has made another, Dans La Maison, which addresses these self-same ideas. Here however it is more explicit, the whole film sees reality changed, perceived and altered by a young writer. I can’t help but feel that these two films are companions to each other and I cannot wait to watch Dans La Maison for a second time, watch this space for a review! But in the meantime…

I apologise for the lack of subtitles, however the American trailer alters the atmosphere of the film to such an extent that I cannot condone it as a preview. So, if you’re intrigued I say just go watch the film!

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