Sitcom

1998

Comedy / Drama / Romance

148
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 4

Synopsis


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23.976 fps
85 min
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23.976 fps
85 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dbdumonteil 7 / 10 / 10

break up the family

Before his first real feature-length film, François Ozon produced an impressive chain of short films during his cinema student years and beyond. In 1997, the medium-length film "Regarde La Mer" made many film lovers put hopes in this voracious filmmaker. When he was a cinema student, one of his professors kept on repeating him: "Go on! Make movies. Believe in what you're making!". This leitmotiv remained stuck on his mind since Ozon makes at least one movie a year. Passion has no limits. But now back in 1998 about "Sitcom", a cannonball in the calm landscape of French cinema which was written in a fortnight and shot in one month, this quirky offering was disowned by a good part of the French press specialized in cinema and it's easy to see why. It was too much for them to give thumbs up to this special piece of work which already showcases the Ozon style. This first offering already lets see his influences, his cinematographic, cinema-going tastes. It spans Claude Chabrol for the bourgeois milieu, Luis Bunuel for the will to shatter this milieu through unexpected means and some dreamlike sequences. Furthermore, the beginning of the film with the arrival of the Spanish maid in the desirable mansion echoes to the scene with the arrival of the bishop hired as a gardener to the Sénéchals in "Le Charme Discret De La Bourgeoisie" (1972) or even the arrival of Jeanne Moreau to the Monteils in "Le Journal D'Une Femme De Chambre" (1964) and Ozon clouds the issues with some indications such as "a few months sooner" or "a few months later" like in "Un Chien Andalou" (1928) or "l'Age D'or" (1930) and give the whole an unreal side. Then, like the "king of bad taste and extravagance" (you probably guessed his name) author of "Serial Mom" (1994), Ozon has a liking for trash humor and shocking. "Sitcom" also presents the seeds of what will be developed later in Ozon's subsequent films, notably the sublime "8 Femmes" (2002) or "Swimming Pool" (2003): a will to enclose his characters in an isolated space to shatter them and to lay bare what's going on in their tormented minds. Also a freewheeling look on sexuality and the inclusion of the grotesque and the admirable. Here, Ozon takes the corny clichés of the sitcom and explodes them through defaced scenery, ugly cinematography and characters who are devoid of interest and are only puppets. The father who only expresses himself through proverbs and can't see for a long time the disorder which reigns in the house. The mother a little uptight who struggled hard to keep order and harmony. The son, serious at the outset who discovers his homosexuality and gradually becomes outgoing. The daughter, an artist who seems marooned in her education and her life. Possible exit: suicide. An universe which goes awry because of a white rat which sets the depths of the unconscious free. If one accepts without ulterior reasons, the preposterous staple idea I have just mentioned, "Sitcom" is much fun to watch. The topic could also have given birth to a satire of the bourgeois milieu but it rather takes a back seat. Instead, Ozon prefers to unleash his perverse frenzy of a sadistic child. He apes the nasty piece of work through a series of sequences, perhaps a little loosely linked up and dovetailed but they are virtually all funny and peppered with perennial, nagging black humor and powerful lines. Ozon will keep to the tail end these features and this assumed schoolboy tone. Different sexual moments may give the film a catalog side but they are virtually all filmed with a certain reserve. The actors all match with their respective roles. One will notice the presence of Marina De Van who before had already worked with Ozon (see "Regarde La Mer") and will after. By the way, her gruesome film "Dans Ma Peau" (2002) isn't suitable for the general public. Anyway, Evelyne Dandry's acting has strong resonances with Hélène Vincent's in Etienne Chatiliez' debut and best film "la Vie Est Un long Fleuve Tranquille" (1988) and François Marthouret's solemn cues could be worth alone the price of admission. "Sitcom" is a dirty, unreal treat brimming with naughtiness. Ozon's trademark is already palpable in his debut film which, however isn't for all tastes. Make up your mind if you find it repulsive or hilarious.

Reviewed by jotix100 9 / 10 / 10

The white rat

We are taken to meet a perfect family in a suburb of Paris. The old house has been remodeled in perfect taste. The people that live in this house are bourgeois to the core. They have superb manners. But is everything as perfect as it seems? Francois Ozon, one of the most interesting men working in the French cinema, seems to believe he can show us a different aspect that is not seen on the glossy picture we see. After the father brings home a lab rat, it becomes everyone's pet. The son one day declares at the dinner table he is gay, to her mother's dismay. The father accepts the fact with philosophy. After all, he muses, weren't men in ancient Greece practitioners of this sexual preference? After all, they were well adjusted and no one batted an eyelash. The daughter, who is having intimate relations with her boyfriend, decides to jump out of a window and become paraplegic. The mother, decides one evening to show her son how things are done in the heterosexual world. The father is given an ultimatum: Get rid of the rat, or else. His way of dealing with the little creature is to practice all his gourmet knowledge on the pet with surprising results. The family, as a whole decides to deal with the monster the father created in a cruel way, but by doing so, peace and tranquility returns to the household again. Mr. Ozon asks us to see the family in a different way. After all, how many families do we know that are picture perfect? Or at least, akin to the image the ubiquitous 'sitcoms' on television wants to impose on us. The director shows why he is one of the best minds working in movies these days. We particularly enjoyed the work of Evelyne Dandry, who plays the mother in the story with great panache. She is the model of BCBG. She will never be seen without a perfect wardrobe, or a hair out of place. The other great contribution is from Lucia Sanchez, who appears as the maid. She undergoes a transformation, beginning as a normal person, then takes a new persona as she is given the responsibility of taking care of Sophie, the paraplegic. Marina DeVan and Adrien DeVan are seen as the daughter, and son of this messed up household. Francois Marthouret underplays the father role. The last scene in the film shows the family at a cemetery as the white lab rat plays atop the black marble tomb. A fit closure for this delightful film.

Reviewed by The_Void 9 / 10 / 10

In a word: brilliant

François Ozon's pitch black mickey take is a biting satire on family life and a brash distraction from the shows of it's title. While many sitcom's are monotonous affairs, Ozon's take on the medium is anything but. Despite taking in many of the clichés of the sitcom - stuffy mother, raunchy maid, bored father etc - Sitcom manages to be continually inventive and the way that it exposes the clichés of the genre is both ludicrously ridiculous and harshly disturbing. The French director proves with this movie that he's not afraid to overstep several boundaries and make a film that dares to be different, and for that reason this film will never be universally liked. However, if you can connect with Ozon's vision, you're in for a treat and that was the situation I found myself in! The story follows a father who, after bringing his family a lab-rat for a present, finds his family collapsing around him - his son discovers he's gay, his daughter jumps out of the window and his wife...well, I'll leave you to find that out on your own. Sitcom is a singularly unpleasant experience. Watching family life deteriorate is a much more gruelling affair than you might imagine, and even though the family and the situation that Ozon has presented are utterly ridiculous; he still manages to inject life into it, which ensures that it hammers home the point that the auteur intended. Whenever I see a film that dares to be different and deliver something that I haven't seen before, I tend to find myself heaping the praise on it and that is certainly the case with this film. You will not find a comedy with a more rotten core than this one and similarly you will not find one that dares to present the utterly ridiculous happenings that this movie thrives on. I don't know how Ozon thought he could get away with some of the things in this film - not just the taboo's he's portrayed, but other things too, some of which are just too stupid to comprehend – but Ozon makes them work! Sitcom is a movie that needs to be experienced, and it's a film that will divide opinions as much as any other movie ever made. And if only for that reason - see this film as soon as possible.

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