Gay Director François Ozon is ’In the House’
Out French writer/director François Ozon’s diverting new film "In the House" alternates between two stories.
One has Germain (Fabrice Luchini), a teacher, mentoring Claude (Ernst Umhauer), a student in his literature class. The other features Claude’s stories, which depict his experiences in the home of his classmate Rapha (Bastien Ughetto).
Claude’s stories intrigue and excite Germain, and "In the House" depicts how Germain crosses moral and ethical lines to keep Claude’s addicting tales coming. Ozon artfully plays with ideas of truth and trust, fiction and morality to create a seductive, spellbinding comedic drama about desire.
The charming filmmaker recently met with SFGN to talk about how he crafted In the House.
GMK: There is a line in your film, "People are nothing without stories." Do you believe this to be true?
FO: Yes! I am nothing without film, without fiction. I need to escape-like the character of Germain-from reality. Life in cinema is better than life in reality.
GMK: Have you ever read a serial or watched a soap opera where you couldn’t wait for the next installment?
FO: Of course! When I was young, "Dallas" was so popular... It was very subversive and forbidden.
GMK: You’ve addressed perfect families previously in your film "Sitcom," and now again here. What is your sense of the perfect family?
FO: [LAUGHS]. As a child, I dreamt of the perfect family in the perfect house in a beautiful suburb. Actually, I lived in Paris in an old building and my dream was to live like a suburban American- like Rapha’s family. My family was not dysfunctional, but it was not perfect.
GMK: Another theme is your film is that art and literature teach us how to awaken our senses to beauty.
FO: I think art helps you understand life. For me, discovering a movie helps me understand my relationships. There are people who can cry in a movie, but are unable to cry in life.
GMK: Who was influential in your education?
FO: I didn’t have such a strong relationship like Germain and Claude in the film, but discovering Fassbinder - I had the feeling like he was talking to me, you know? I loved very stylish movies by Douglas Sirk and Max Ophuls, and at the same time I liked realistic movies, and I didn’t know how to have these two visions in the same movie. When I discovered Fassbinder’s movies, I thought the key is there.
GMK: Your characters talk about creating and expressing desire in "In the House." How do you create and expepress desire and sexuality...
FO: [Interrupts] Sexuality is life. [Laughs]. Sexuality is very important and very often my films are about people looking for their identity. To find your identity you have to go through your sexuality. That’s why sex is so important in my movies. I love to film sex scenes. It’s very exciting! I think the cinema is the best place to have desire. There is something about cinema and fantasy, obsession and sexuality. You want to touch the bodies of the actors and actresses.
GMK: Who do you desire?
FO: I desire all my actors - men and women. It doesn’t mean I have sex with everybody! [Laughs]. Sometimes I would like to!
GMK: "In the House" is also about being seduced...
FO: I love to be seduced! That means you have desire, you feel alive. I love to seduce my audience. I love to seduce people too.
GMK: Do you feel your films expose you?
FO: [People] think they know me because they’ve seen my movies. It’s quite disturbing to feel like you are naked in front of them. I think my films are very personal. That’s why I don’t understand why I do interviews. Everything [about me] is in the movies!