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.