Published Sep 16, 2009Do not fear the French, as "refuge" means pretty much the same thing in English. That said, if you don't know the meaning of the word in either language it doesn't make that much of a difference, because I'm not certain French auteur/director Francois Ozon knows the meaning. I always thought it meant a place one could go to get away from anything one needed to get away from. For Ozon, it seems to be a place that makes matters worse.
The refuge, both the cottage in the country setting and the film itself, are very beautiful. They are also both simple, but one's quite a bit quainter. Mousse (Isabelle Carre) is hiding away at said cottage for the duration of her pregnancy. It sounds simple enough but her baby's father died the night they did some bad heroine; she didn't know she was pregnant at the time. She's joined by her former lover's brother, Paul (Louis-Ronan Choisy). He didn't know she had kept the baby, as last he heard she was going to abort it. She resists him at first but before long she's drawn to him, which is problematic given that he's gay.
Ozon knows that anyone seeking a safe haven runs the risk of never returning and allowing the healing to serve as a means of keeping the rest of the world out for good instead. He also understands that spending too much time there makes it harder to get back. What he doesn't understand is that sometimes the pain experienced by those seeking refuge only matters to those is pain.
Those seeking sanctuary in Ozon's latest film will need to look hard to find it. (Eurowide Films)