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François Ozon Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (10)  | Personal Quotes (19)

Overview (2)

Born in Paris, France
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

François Ozon was born on November 15, 1967 in Paris, France. He is a director and writer, known for In the House (2012), 8 Women (2002) and Young & Beautiful (2013).

Family (1)

Parents René Ozon
Anne-Marie Ozon

Trivia (10)

Graduated from La Fémis in 1993.
Has supported Lionel Jospin's 2002 presidential campaign.
His movies are usually characterized by sharp satirical wit and a freewheeling view on human sexuality.
Calls actress Romola Garai his muse.
Owns an apartment in the center of Paris.
Worked as a model in his childhood.
Considers filmmaking a "parallel world", in which he flees the boring everyday life.
His favorite director is Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Born to biology professor René Ozon and his wife Anne-Marie Ozon, a teacher, he has a brother, Guillaume Ozon, and a sister, Julie Ozon. In his ironic short movie Photo de famille (1988), he shows Guillaume killing the other family members.
Member of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012.

Personal Quotes (19)

I do films to be behind the camera, not in front of the camera. I'm sure I say very intimate things about myself in all my films, but it's better to say it not too directly, to be hidden behind a woman.
To be a star, an icon, is very heavy. The problem with this kind of woman, especially Jeanne [Moreau] or Catherine Deneuve, they have been such huge stars since when they were so young, they can be disconnected from reality. And sometimes they are in a bad mood, it can happen. But they are clever enough that if you tell them 'Stop now,' you can say that to this kind of woman and they come back to reality very quickly.
When a woman discovers that her individuality is not only discerned, but also supported, she melts away.
When we make a film, we are like children playing a game. I say to the actors, 'OK, you will be the doctor, you be the nurse ... and I am - I am the headmaster. I am the chef d'orchestre.'
I couldn't have been an actor. I tried but I couldn't speak in front of people. But to control, to direct - this was my role.
[observation, 2014] To have a fantasy it's not murder. But suddenly you realize, that, in the context of today's debate, you have to be politically correct about your fantasies too. You could be judged about what you want to do in bed with someone. It's amazing - but that is how today's debate is.
I think I'm more lucid portraying women because I don't have the feeling it's about me. Of course it's about me and my emotions, but it's not like when I'm in front of the male character I have to be, in front of a mirror. With the man, I try maybe to hide some personal things. And with a woman, because I am a man it's easier. It's strange, but it's like that.
[press conference for Young & Beautiful (2013) at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival] I hadn't talked about adolescence for a long time. Some of my first films, my short films, were on the teenage years and after the film Under the Sand (2000) when I met Charlotte Rampling, I worked with people who were slightly older and characters that were older. In In the House (2012) I worked with fairly young people and then I wanted to do that again, particularly young girls. That's where this initial desire sprang from. Following that, in terms of adolescence, I had the impression that in all French films, even in international films, adolescence is often highly idealized, it's sublimated in a way. I have painful memories of my own teenage years, so I really wanted to deal with the topic once again with a greater degree of maturity, experience, distance. I wanted to talk about this time in life differently. The idea therefore was to show the portrait of a very contemporary young girl, but she's ageless in a sense because she might have been the same twenty years ago or will be in twenty years' time. I wanted things to be rooted in reality, be quite realistic. My approach at the same time was somewhat impressionistic - I wanted there to be four seasons, four songs, and I wanted to leave certain things out of the film because I don't have answers to everything - the young girl is quite a mystery and I wanted to share the mystery with the spectators.
[Cannes press conference for Young & Beautiful (2013)] I think that when you're a teenager you start being melancholic, because it's a time when you lose your illusions - you realise that love is not exactly what you had hoped, parental authority and what they have said may not be the truth - so this is a time when things start to fall apart and it's quite violent because often childhood is fairly idyllic.
[Cannes press conference for Young & Beautiful (2013)] The idea of mystery was a very important one. I tried to find all sorts of reasons - there are many of them - the main reason when you talk about prostitution is money, but it was clear that that's something I wanted to totally discard in order to move towards something much deeper, much more mysterious, which would not be something as down-to-earth as just money, even if money does have a value, as the psychiatrist says. For me it was very important to show several possibilities, several reasons, but I didn't want to have any preconceived ideas; the idea was to follow this character through the four seasons and then spectators can try to understand for themselves, interpret the situation without judging - just accompanying the girl in her voyage of discovery.
[on 8 Women (2002)] The egos cancelled one another out. The difficulty was directing eight actresses, none of whom want to be directed the same way. Oh, I was so tired! Catherine Deneuve just wants to know what to do with her hands. Isabelle Huppert wants to know nothing except her place. Emmanuelle Béart wants to know the psychology of her character. Sometimes you have Catherine and Isabelle in the shot, which meant that Fanny Ardant was just an extra in the background. But I still have to find something for her to do.
People think I'm perverse but I don't believe I ever am on set. Maybe in my private life, yes: I'll admit I'm a little bit twisted. But on set, I need to gain the actors' trust. When we do a sex scene, I tell them everything that will happen so they don't feel manipulated: "I want to show your breasts" or "I don't want to show your penis." I tell them if I am going to make them look beautiful or not. Sometimes the camera will steal emotions which could not have been reproduced consciously, but actors like that.
I had a schoolmistress who always gave me bad marks, and even tore up one of my essays. Once she was ill and a much younger teacher came to replace her, and I got the top mark. She thought my essay was funny, insolent, everything the other one had hated. That's when I realised I could provoke very aggressive or very positive reactions.
[on Five Times Two (2004)] I wanted to ask why people find it difficult to maintain a relationship for 10, 15 or 20 years, like our parents did. Because the story was about something ending, I wrote the end first. Then I realised that was the starting point.
[press conference for Double Lover (2017) at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival] What interested me first of all was that I discovered that Joyce Carol Oates also had a twin and that the novel, Lives of the Twins, was written under the pen name, Rosamond Smith. I very much like the writer, I think she's one of the greatest American writers. When I saw she was writing under a pen name, I wanted to look at her novels, and I happened upon this book, which I liked very much. I was attracted by the idea of this woman caught between two twins. Also, I could play around with the codes of the genre - I could push back limits, particularly after my preceding film, Frantz (2016), which was much more conventional. There was something more playful that I could do here.
[Cannes press conference for Double Lover (2017)] It's a thriller after all and it's an erotic thriller so obviously there were references to preceding directors; I'm a fan of Brian De Palma and Hitchcock, and I love the way in which De Palma deconstructs a thriller - he has lots of fun with it. In the same way, I tried to play around with the codes of the genre in the film.
[Cannes press conference for Double Lover (2017)] I love filming, it's a great pleasure to make films. I have a lot of friends, directors who need more time, but that's my natural pace. So long as it's a pleasure for me and so long as I can shoot films and I have producers who support me, people who put up the money, and things to say of course! I'll keep making films. What's interesting of course is to work in different directions - I'm a pretty versatile director, I don't like to repeat myself. Certain themes keep cropping up in my films but I always try to test out new things and go deeper into some matters, but using a different genre.
The German directors who go to Hollywood now aren't German anymore. I'm still French. I liked Hollywood in the '40s and '50s, but now I'm not sure I would find my place and I'm not sure if I would be able to work under their conditions. In France you are very free as a director, you have the final cut. In America, the important person is not the director, but the producer. In France even if you are not established, a young director is respected. François Truffaut said the Americans respect you when you stay in your country, but when you arrive in America it's finished. They'll destroy you. Do you know a good European director who makes good films in Hollywood? Maybe Stephen Frears? He tried, but he came back.
[on Rainer Werner Fassbinder] Fassbinder was very influential during my education. He makes very different movies. And the way he could speak about the history of Germany so well through his work. He does not always try to create a masterpiece but to create a body of work. And he works with the same actors. It's these things that made me think that I could make a film. When you see this kind of smaller film it is an inspiration.

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