15 November 2019

François Ozon's Victor (1993)

François Ozon's first short film, Photo de famille (1988), made when he was only twenty-one, contains a number of elements that would play a part in his future films. An obviously amateur seven-minute silent movie in which his parents, his brother and his sister star, this features his brother Guillaume administering a lethal dose of poison in a cup of coffee to his mother, stabbing his sister to death with a pair of scissors, and smothering his father as he lies asleep on the sofa. Guillaume then drags the dead onto the sofa and poses for a photo between them. Of course, we all have to kill our parents metaphorically, and this is a version of the process on film.

Victor is a mixture of a horror story and a comedy, a fantasy and a reality. The adolescent Victor practices his suicide by holding a gun to his mouth, is interrupted by the cry of the maid, and then we hear two shots: no, he's not missed the first time, but he's killed his parents and can't seem to do the same to himself.

The maid discovers his deed and starts wearing his mother's dress, then invites her boyfriend in, they have passionate sex (slyly witnessed by Victor), they steal the family jewels – which Victor helps them with – and they initiate him into a kind of sexual threesome. (There are a number of brief but obviously homoerotic sequences.) Victor masturbates in the garden near a naked statue although his sperm is unconvincing, he waves farewell to the maid and boyfriend as they drive off in the parents' car, he buries the bodies in the garden, asks the aged gardener (vaguely) about his problem, but the gardener has nothing to do with what happens in the house. We last see Victor taking an RER train somewhere.

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