Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Too much ‘escapism’ at Berlinale?

February 7, 2009


“Escapism”, we were warned, was going to be a recurrent element of many of the entries in this year’s Berlin Film Festival, the world’s first major cinematic barometer since the global financial meltdown began. People are yearning to escape for a few hours from the economic gloom and doom, the film experts were saying before the Berlinale’s curtain went up.

Yet even knowing that, it was still difficult to predict how far French director Francois Ozon (“8 Women”, “Swimming Pool”) was going to take viewers on a most bizarre journey out of our depressing little lives in his newest film “Ricky“, which made its world premiere in Berlin.

(Spoiler alert - if you’re one of Ozon’s few non-French fans and plan to see the film, you might want to stop here — otherwise bon voyage) A struggling French woman meets a Spanish co-worker at the factory, they do what they always do in French films, and she gets pregnant. After their healthy baby boy is born — and about half way through the rather ordinary 90-minute film, it takes an extraordinary twist — the baby suddenly starts growing wings out of his shoulder blades. Yes, giant, powerful wings. And before long, he’s flying around his room. And not long after that, shortly after he turns into a media sensation, the baby boy simply flies away.

“You’ve answered the question yourself,” Ozon told a journalist at a news conference after the premiere when asked if he thought his film was an antidote for people craving an escape from the financial crisis. “Going to the cinema is part of our lives, to imagine living in a different, imaginary world. When you go to see a film, you want to see something different. This film is like a fairy tale.”

Are moviegoers looking for so much escape? And is a baby boy suddenly growing wings what they want to see?

(Photo: Director Francois Ozon poses with actors Alexandra Lamy, Melusine Mayance and Sergi Lopez (L-R) during the photocall to present his film ‘Ricky’ at the 59th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, February 6, 2009. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz)

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