The disturbing French filmmaker Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool, Under the Sand) has never won any friends in America among the Focus on the Family crowd. Long obsessed with the hazards and the hidden agendas of traditional marriage, Ozon has now launched a full-frontal assault on the whole notion of conjugal bliss. In the deceptively simple 5x2, he examines five pivotal moments in the history of an ordinary couple, Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stephane Freiss), which reveal the specifics of a doomed relationship. That the filmmaker shows them to us in reverse order -- the grim divorce proceeding comes first, the initial spark of Marion and Gilles's attraction last -- indicates both his grasp of dramatic irony and the abiding sadness with which he approaches the human condition. The three other sequences address a dinner party, the birth of the couple's son and their strange wedding night. Taken together, the scenes compose a kind of autopsy on the model of marriage in our time. Newlyweds are advised to stay away.
5x2 opens Friday, August 12, for a one-week run at the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli, 900 Auraria Parkway. For information, call 303-595-3456.