Your Daily Short: François Ozon's 'Family Photo'

Welcome to Your Daily Short, a new feature on that will highlight and stream a short film at high noon. Every weekday. Every week.

TODAY'S SHORT: "Family Photo" (François Ozon) 1988


WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: François Ozon’s thirteenth feature, "In the House," opens this weekend. It’s great, and you should see it. The so-called French “enfant terrible” has been making stylish, colorful and camp features films for so long now that it’s easy to forget how long it took him to make the transition. Ozon began making shorts a full decade before 1998’s Sitcom, a period in which he made seventeen of them. Some of them are brilliant uses of the form, like 1996’s "A Summer Dress" (which you can watch on YouTube without subtitles). Others are rougher, brief forays into artistic expression.

His earliest works are darkly comic and rule-breaking shorts shot on Super 8, a developmental moment he has in common with Pedro Almodóvar. Photo de Famille (Family Photo) was the very first, made in 1988 when Ozon was only 21 years old. He cast his own parents and siblings, and given the content of the short one wonders what they thought he was trying to say. His brother Guillaume plays a young man who, for reasons unexplained, goes about killing the entire household.

It’s the earliest incarnation of a broad theme of Ozon’s work: youth destroying the fabric of the bourgeois family. An impulse in the spirit of Pasolini’s "Teorema," it pops up again in both his first feature, Sitcom, and in his newest, In the House. It’s a neat sort of continuity, a twenty-five-year interest in slyly breaking down the bland institutions of French society. Despite how much some critics love to see a director like Ozon “mature” out of his iconoclastic youth, it’s nice to see that he’s still trying to shake things up.

Watch Yesterday's Daily Short: “Table 7"

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