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Swimming Pool

France / UK 2003
produced by
Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier for Fidélité Productions, France 2, Gimages, FOZ, Headforce Ltd, Canal+
directed by Francois Ozon
starring Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier, Charles Dance, Jean-Marie Lamour, Marc Fayolle, Mireille Mossé, Michel Fau, Jean-Claude Lecas, Emilie Gavois-Kahn, Erarde Forestali, Lauren Farrow, Sebastian Harcombe, Frances Cuka, Keith Yeates, Tricia Aileen, Glen Davies
written by Francois Ozon, Emmanuèle Bernheim, music by Philippe Rombi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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British mystery writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) feels a bit burnt out, so her publisher  John Bosload (Charles Dance) suggests for her to stay at his villa in France for a few weeks for some rest and relaxation ... and it really works, Sarah calms down a lot, and after a time she really starts to write again - until Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) arrives, Bosload's daughter from an ilicit affair, and Julie is everything Sarah is not, open and fun-loving where Sarah is stuck up and promiscuous while Sarah seems to be the perfect old spinster.

Of course the two women clash, especially when Julie brings home another lover every night. But then, one day Julie doesn't come home, and all Sarah finds is her panties on the lawn. Sarah#s first instinct is, curiously enough, to searhc Julie's stuff, until she finds her diary, which she soon uses as inspiration for the book she writes ...

When Julie does come back the next day, Sarah sees her in another light, and tries to make up with her, become friends with her, even if it is only for the sake of her book. Gradually, Julie opens up to Sarah ... until she finds out that Sarah has been using her diary as inspiration ...

To have a bit of revenge, Julie the next evening invites Frank (Jean-Marie Lamour), the waiter of the local café who she knows Sarah has a soft spot for, over to the villa, intending to seduce him before Sarah's very eyes - but somehow it doesn't quite work out when Frank shows way more affection to Sarah than expected and is not all that interested in Julie. Ultimately, Julie persuades him to a nude swim in the villa's swimming pool, but when she starts to give him a blow job, he pushes her away and ...

And the next day, Frank is nowhere to be found, even though Sarah conducts a thorough investigation - until she comes home and Julie confesses she has killed him - and indeed, his corpse is in the shack in the garden. Asked why she did it, Julie claims it was for the sake of Sarah's book - Julie seems to have a soft spot for writing women since her deceased mother wrote a novel her father refused to publish ...

Sarah is far from handing Julie over to the police, instead she helps her burying Frank in the garden, and helps her getting rid of evidence ... and when a few days later Marcel (Marc Fayolle) almost stumbles over Frank's grave, Sarah even seduces him to keep him from snooping around any more.

After weeks the women part, with nobody having grown wise to what they did ... and as a farewell present, Julie gives Sarah her mother's unpublished novel and asks her to have it published under her own name, for the sake of her mother.

Back in Great Britain, Bosload refuses to publish what Sarah has given him (which might or might not be Julie's mother's novel), which Sarah though had already contemplated and contacted another publisher who is all too pleased to publish it ...

The last scene though, when Bosload's daughter Julia (Lauren Farrow) visits her daddy in the office though seem to suggest that pretty much all of the story was just made up by Sarah, and that there never was a Julie or a murder ... but perhaps there was.


Within Francois Ozon's oeuvre, Swimming Pool is certainly no masterpiece, it's a rather conventional murder mystery with a few unujsual plottwists. However, taken as a conventional murder mystery with a few unujsual plottwists, Swimming Pool is a pretty good, original film, beautifully photographed, intelligently directed and excellently played.

Recommended !


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD