8 femmes (2002) is a French,English movie. François Ozon has directed this movie. Fanny Ardant,Emmanuelle Béart,Danielle Darrieux,Catherine Deneuve are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2002. 8 femmes (2002) is considered one of the best Comedy,Crime,Musical,Romance movie in India and around the world.
One morning at an isolated mansion in the snowy countryside of 1950s France, a family is gathered for the holiday season. But there will be no celebration at all because their beloved patriarch has been murdered! The killer can only be one of the eight women closest to the man of the house. Was it his powerful wife? His spinster sister-in-law? His miserly mother-in-law? Maybe the insolent chambermaid or the loyal housekeeper? Could it possibly have been one of his two young daughters? A surprise visit from the victim's chic sister sends the household into a tizzy, encouraging hysterics, exacerbating rivalries, and encompassing musical interludes. Comedic situations arise with the revelations of dark family secrets. Seduction dances with betrayal. The mystery of the female psyche is revealed. There are eight women and each is a suspect. Each has a motive. Each has a secret. Beautiful, tempestuous, intelligent, sensual, and dangerous...one of them is guilty. Which one is it?
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'8 Women' is a rather unique film. On the surface it is the probably only entry in the genre of the grotesque whodunit-musical. But actually, it's a huge playground - for the actresses who get the chance to play with the stereotypes attached to them, and for director François Ozon to toy with the clichés of the whodunit. Here's the setup: 1950s. A beautiful mansion. A man is found lying in his bed with a knife in his back. The possible suspects: His wife, his two daughters, his sister, his mother-in-law, his sister-in-law, the chambermaid and the cook. As these eight women can't leave the estate or call the police, they try to find the murderer themselves. We know this situation from countless Agatha Christie-stories. But what Ozon makes of this situation is just incredible. It already begins with the casting: Who else could play the gentrified Gaby if not Catherine Deneuve? Is there any actress who would fit more perfectly for the role of the spinsterish sister than Isabelle Huppert? Who else would you want to walk around in that dress of a chambermaid than the most desirable Emmanuelle Béart? The actresses are eagerly playing with the stereotypes that surround them because of both, the roles they played and their private lives. Then there's the story: All whodunits have those obligatory scenes where the motives of all characters are revealed. '8 Women' takes that formula and deliberately goes over the top with it, it's characters are unfaithful, pregnant, lesbian, poisoners and many things more. And as a final twist, the film stops eight times to give each of its protagonists a chance to reveal her true character in a scene entirely devoted to them - singing and dancing. There is also another scene worth mentioning that is entirely dedicated to the actresses: A scene with a lot of dialog that entirely consists of nothing but a series of closeups - and that for about three minutes. Cinephiles can enjoy this film on even another level: The film is filled with references to beloved classics. Consider Fanny Ardant's musical number, which pays homage to Rita Hayworth's glove-strip in 'Gilda', and another Rita Hayworth-moment so wonderful I won't reveal it here. Consider Emmanuelle Béarts hairstyle that echoes Kim Novak in 'Vertigo'. Consider the fact that the late husband of the Dannielle Darrieux character was a general, reminding us of 'Madame de...'. Or consider the painting of the young Catherine Deneuve hanging in one room - a replica of a 'Belle de jour'-poster. All this is supported by the rich, colorful cinematography, the art direction and the costumes, that give the entire film a 1950s look. But attention: If you give this film a chance, don't expect it to be logically consistent. It isn't. But that doesn't matter at all. The murder mystery story is replaceable. The film is entirely devoted to its brilliant actresses and the wonderful, bitchy dialog they exchange. It's great fun and it is getting better with every viewing.
In the simply uncategorizable French movie "8 Women," successful businessman Marcel is found stabbed to death in his bed. Whodunit? Was it his wife (Catherine Deneuve) or his estranged sister (Fanny Ardant)? Or his mother-in-law (Danielle Darrieux) or his sister-in-law (Isabelle Huppert)? Or one of his daughters (Virginie Ledoyen, Ludivine Sagnier)? Or his longtime cook (Firmine Richard) or his new housemaid (Emmanuelle Béart)? The movie, however, is less concerned with the murderess's identity than with giving these 8 actresses the chance to show off, in a series of campy, funny, melodramatic scenes. To that effect, there are countless catty remarks and catfights. The revealing of progressively more outrageous family secrets. Lesbianism, twisted love triangles, chic couture wardrobes, transformations from ugly duckling to swan. And, last but not least, musical numbers. The action stops for each woman to dance and sing (usually in a breathy untrained voice) a pop song that reveals her character's emotional state. It's a bizarre mix, but you'll find yourself laughing through your incredulity. Faced with eight such talented actresses it feels rude to single out individual performers, but Huppert's portrayal of the embittered spinster Augustine steals the movie. Every one of her line readings is distinctive and hilarious, making this abrasive, histrionic character an absolute delight to watch. Almost as good is Ardant, playing a surprisingly likable free-spirited bad girl; because her character has no shame, she's at least honest when all the other women tell lies. The lesser-known Firmine Richard gets one of the best musical numbers with "Pour ne pas vivre seul" ("So as not to live alone"), and Sagnier, who was in her early twenties when she filmed the movie, very convincingly plays a bratty 16-year-old. All of the actresses' roles allow them to satirize their own or others' personas: Béart sends up the "seductive French maid" stereotype; Ledoyen is costumed to look like Audrey Hepburn but her character is no girlish innocent; Deneuve plays a variation on her customary chilly, glamorous bourgeois matron. Meanwhile, grande dame Darrieux cuts loose in the role of a meddling, lying grandma. "8 Women" is thus more than just a comedy-mystery-musical: it's a witty postmodern comment on movie genres, movie stars, and three generations of French divas. It has a healthy sense of its own absurdity (indeed, how can anyone take this Agatha-Christie-type mystery seriously anymore?) yet all of the actresses are fully committed to telling this ridiculous story. Certainly one of the strangest films I've ever seen, it also--unlike so many serious and earnest modern movies--reminds me of why I love the Technicolor screen and its great actresses in the first place.
1st watched 1/23/2005 - 9 out of 10(Dir-Francois Ozone): Well crafted drama/mystery/musical that is so full it's hard to critique into a summary. The basic plot is that 8 related women find themselves in the same place at approximately the same time when the lone man is presumed to be murdered, who happens to be the grandfather, father, husband, bearer of child, lover etc of the women(not necessarily in that order). You talk about complexity of plot? Every time someone opens their mouth another twist is thrown into the mix. I think it would take at least another viewing to understand everyone's relationship with everyone else by the end of the movie. And besides this, musical numbers are thrown in to help us understand the characters that are sung by themselves and sometimes backed up by the rest of the cast(ala Bollywood). One thing I have always noticed about French movies is that they come across as a confused people but they're OK with that, instead of the American's who believe that "they" have the answers to everything. This makes it slightly un-comfortable for us pompous Americans to view movies like this where every "real" thing in life is kind of taken with a little tongue-in-cheek mentality but this is the reality of their people and it's present often in their movies. Good for them!! This is so evident in this movie where because of it's mystery plot, we think that who did the killing is what's important, but what we find out is that there is much more behind the so-called answer we're seeking which makes for a very complex experience. Thank you French cinema. Without it there would not be movies like this.
Francois Ozon is a daring director who never leaves the audience indifferent... 8 Women can be seen as a mysoginist view of womanhood from the viewpoint of a gay director... However I for one saw this movie as great entertainment and excellent showpiece for France's leading screen divas. 8 Woman is a whodunnit not so far from Agatha Christie's 10 Petits Negres: 8 women each have enough reasons to kill the father, in-law, brother and master of the house. Of course I will not tell who killed the man and why, but it is not so important after all. Because 8 Women is first and foremost about womanhood: all facets of the woman exposed through the revelations, attitudes, manipulations of 8 different women: the girl, the blossoming young lady (Ledoyen), the femme fatale (fabulous Ardant), the femme repressed (hilarious Huppert), the bourgeoise (Deneuve), the old stepmother, the lesbian, the sexual and sexy maid (Beart). This film is all about the cast performance. All women have their sing-a-song moment very apropos and funny. All actors deliver stunningly, especially Ardant, Deneuve and Beart. It is very lighthearted despite the somber revelations: bright colours, golden 50's nostalgic atmosphere, nice pop tunes with fun choreography. It is great to see that French directors love their actresses whatever their age... Hollywood learn from this, we don't care much about Pamela Anderson or Jennifer Lopez-like babes... Honestly as a young French guy, the 50-something Fanny Ardant is the one who turned me on the most! Wholeheartedly, 9.5/10
In this time when it may be considered fashionable to bash the French (this is written on the eve of war - the USA against Iraq) I, for one, wish to open a bottle of the best French Champagne to toast this most marvelous film! Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Ozon! This movie is a treat on all levels - sure, it's not for everyone, but if you like musicals, and a plate full of gorgeous GREAT actresses to boot, then - have at it, and enjoy!