Swimming Pool is the quintessential writer’s movie. It so perfectly depicts the workings of a writerly mind: how ideas are formed, how when you’re in the thick of things, a story can usurp other aspects of daily life. This is another François Ozon movie, starring two of his favorite actors – Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier. Rampling is the writer, Sagnier is the muse.
It’s hard to talk about this one without getting spoilery so I’m putting the rest of this under a cut, though I promise to keep to mild spoilers and not give away the whole game.
François Ozon is a favorite director, I love every one of his films. He can do intense, contemplative, quirky, funny, poignant – sometimes all in one film, like this one. There are four key characters in Water Drops on Burning Rocks – Léopold, the queen bee, and the others who buzz adoringly around him… though god knows why, because on the surface he’s definitely no charmer. He’s a businessman in his 50s – not rich, not handsome, but obviously in possession of very powerful pheromones or somesuch, because he has a 20 year old lover, Franz who will do anything for him, Franz’s ex fiancée, Anna who comes along and also finds herself enthralled with Léopold, and Véra, Léopold’s desperate ex girlfriend, still pursuing him. If you’re thinking those names seem very German for a French film, you’re right – it’s based on the German play, Tropfen auf Heisse Steine. There are some amazing moments and extremely bizarre scenes happening in this one, a sort of circus of unusual and impossible whazziz taking place that are nonetheless so clever and fun, you find yourself truly believing things like this happen every day:
Ludivine Sagnier, Bernard Giraudeau, Anna Levine, Malik Zidi
And then there’s the conclusion, turning everything upside down.