See The Sea/A Summer Dress

  • 1997
  • 52 MIN
  • NR
  • Horror, Romance

Two very different short films -- one deeply unsettling, the other buoyant and fresh -- from Francois Ozon, an intriguing new French director. In See the Sea, a bored and sexually restless young mother named Sasha (Sasha Hails) is left alone with her 10-month-old baby daughter at her husband's seaside vacation home. One afternoon, there's a knock at the...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Two very different short films -- one deeply unsettling, the other buoyant and fresh -- from Francois Ozon, an intriguing new French director. In See the Sea, a bored and sexually restless young mother named Sasha (Sasha Hails) is left alone with

her 10-month-old baby daughter at her husband's seaside vacation home. One afternoon, there's a knock at the back door: It's Tatiana (Marina de Van), a brusque, vaguely menacing young vagabond who asks if she can set up camp in Sasha's yard for the next few days. Sasha first hesitates then agrees,

inadvertently leaving the door open for mayhem and madness to slip quietly into her idyllic home. Long takes, tantalizing edits and a near-absence of music help establish an almost unbearable level of tension, and the stark horror of the film's conclusion is unforgettable. In the second film,

The Summer Dress, a young gay man vacationing with his lover meets a girl on the beach. They have sex in the nearby woods (it's his first time with a woman), but when they're done, the naked boy discovers that someone has stolen his clothes. The girl offers him the dress she was wearing

over her bathing suit, and he wears it home. He finds he likes the girl, heterosexual sex and the dress. His boyfriend likes the dress, too. This film carries none of the cold, calculated impact of the first, but it's a sweet and breezy ode to youth, beauty and a world of seemingly infinite

possibilities. (In French, with English subtitles.)

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