Sitcom

Sitcom

Director: François Ozon

Cast: Evelyne Dandry, Francois Marthouret, Marina de Van

     
 
Playing like a combination of Todd Solondz, John Waters, and a dysfunctional and incestuous generic television sitcom, director François Ozon's blacker than night psychological family comedy touches on many aspects that would frighten off most casual viewers on concept alone. From the opening scene of a father gunning down his family (albeit experienced audibly while

Overview

Playing like a combination of Todd Solondz, John Waters, and a dysfunctional and incestuous generic television sitcom, director François Ozon's blacker than night psychological family comedy touches on many aspects that would frighten off most casual viewers on concept alone. From the opening scene of a father gunning down his family (albeit experienced audibly while the camera remains fixed on an external shot of the exceedingly proper and mundane suburban home) to mother/son sex, and even moments that border on bestiality, Sitcom gleefully and unapologetically attempts to dismantle the denial-prone status quo while constantly dwelling on self-conscious shock tactics and riffs on such nuclear family stereotypes as the indifferent father and the obsessively proper mother figure. And while Ozon's tactics hit the marks at times early on, as the film grows increasingly debaucherous it becomes more and more difficult to assess the method to the suburban nightmare madness the film portrays. By the time the surreal climax involving one of the human characters' literal transformation into the catalyst that set the opening scene's tragedy into motion rolls around, it feels uncharacteristically out of place and forced within the admittedly already absurd context of the previous 70 minutes. As repulsive as some of the more sordid details of the deteriorating family values may be, the majority of the film keeps the viewer involved and interested until the apparent lack of direction and outcome sends it careening out of control and spiraling into a nonsensical conclusion. Had Ozon anchored himself to reality, so to speak, he may have crafted a not altogether flawless, but effective comment on the banality of the sugar-coated denial that makes up the majority of television sitcoms and its disturbing transcendence into real life. As it stands however, the film is effective and entertaining for the most part, though its ambiguously confusing ending distills the jarring impact that this otherwise effective satire may have held.Playing like a combination of Todd Solondz, John Waters, and a dysfunctional and incestuous generic television sitcom, director François Ozon's blacker than night psychological family comedy touches on many aspects that would frighten off most casual viewers on concept alone. From the opening scene of a father gunning down his family (albeit experienced audibly while the camera remains fixed on an external shot of the exceedingly proper and mundane suburban home) to mother/son sex, and even moments that border on bestiality, Sitcom gleefully and unapologetically attempts to dismantle the denial-prone status quo while constantly dwelling on self-conscious shock tactics and riffs on such nuclear family stereotypes as the indifferent father and the obsessively proper mother figure. And while Ozon's tactics hit the marks at times early on, as the film grows increasingly debaucherous it becomes more and more difficult to assess the method to the suburban nightmare madness the film portrays. By the time the surreal climax involving one of the human characters' literal transformation into the catalyst that set the opening scene's tragedy into motion rolls around, it feels uncharacteristically out of place and forced within the admittedly already absurd context of the previous 70 minutes. As repulsive as some of the more sordid details of the deteriorating family values may be, the majority of the film keeps the viewer involved and interested until the apparent lack of direction and outcome sends it careening out of control and spiraling into a nonsensical conclusion. Had Ozon anchored himself to reality, so to speak, he may have crafted a not altogether flawless, but effective comment on the banality of the sugar-coated denial that makes up the majority of television sitcoms and its disturbing transcendence into real life. As it stands however, the film is effective and entertaining for the most part, though its ambiguously confusing ending distills the jarring impact that this otherwise effective satire may have held.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Francois Ozon's debut feature film is a hyperbolic piece of absurdist satire. A merciless skewering of the bourgeoisie, the ironically titled Sitcom helped cement the French director's reputation as one of the most provocative artists working in cinema today. Set almost entirely in the tony home of an upper middle-class family, the movie is essentially a string of outrageous vignettes. The surface serenity of family life is shattered by the arrival of a pet mouse, which sets off unusual vibes in the household. One by one, taboos are broken: from incest to bestiality, the movie gives free rein to Ozon's iconoclastic urges. While this stylized movie is clearly the product of an assured talent, it fails to sustain interest during its 79-minute running time. Ozon's demolition of the suburbs is certainly not short on zeal, but as a critique of modern life and bourgeois vacuity, it offers little that is new. Unabashedly heartless, the movie's succession of transgressions becomes numbing fast. By the end, Sitcom reveals itself to be as shallow and inane as the people it ridicules.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/06/2004
UPC:
0717119757342
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
NR
Source:
New Yorker Video
Time:
1:20:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Evelyne Dandry Helene
Francois Marthouret Jean
Marina de Van Sophie
Adrien de Van Nicolas
Stephane Rideau David
Lucia Sanchez Maria
Julien-Emmanuel Eyoum Deido Abdu
Jean Douchet Shrink
Marc Francois Actor
Ed Marinaro Actor
Idwig Stephane Actor

Technical Credits
François Ozon Director,Screenwriter
Olivier Delbosc Producer
Benoit Hillebrant Sound/Sound Designer
Jean-Guillaume Mathieu Asst. Director
Marc Missonnier Producer
Eric Neveux Score Composer
Dominique Petrot Editor
Herve Poeydomenge Costumes/Costume Designer
Angelique Puron Art Director
Yorick Le Saux Cinematographer

Scene Index

Short Films Victor And Photo De Famille By François Ozon; Cast Interviews; Scene Selections; Original Theatrical Trailer

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