Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

11 October 2013

In the House

I recently caught François Ozon's film In the House (Dans la Maison) and was in love with it. I think this is definitely the best film Ozon has ever made. It's stagey, unrealistic qualities working perfectly with the narrative he is telling. I love Ozon, normally: his offbeat, queer sensibility really appeals to me. I was particularly fond of 8 Women when it came out. But Dans la Maison is a film about an old, married teacher's desire for excitement in his life – or is he simply enjoying someone make fun of the middle class – or is he fantasizing about the woman his student loves – or is he actually in love with his male student?

Dans la Maison is about wanting to watch and seeing what one can get away with. It is about the fluidity of desire – and I don't mean along some kind of Kinsey continuum – whereby what's sexy is watching or listening or imagining and what we imagine matters less in the scheme of things than that we imagine. Dans la Maison is about a lot more, too: class and race in France, art and pornography, pedagogical ethics. It's great.

Mr. Ughetto and Mr. Umhauer

Oh and the acting! The always perfect Kristin Scott Thomas is in it. (I see everything she does.) And the lead role is excellently played by Fabrice Luchini. But Ernst Umhauer and Bastien Ughetto, the actors who play the school-age boys are just fantastic!