8 WOMEN (French : 8 FEMMES) is a 2002 French dark comedy musical film
, written and directed by
François Ozon . Based on the 1958 play by
Robert Thomas , it features an ensemble cast of high-profile French
actresses that includes
Ozon initially envisioned a remake of
The film's premiere was held on 8 January 2002 in
* 1 Plot * 2 Cast * 3 Musical numbers * 4 Production
* 5 Reception
* 5.1 Critical response * 5.2 Box office
* 6 Accolades * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links
The film is set in the 1950s in a large country residence as a family
and its servants are preparing for
The scene opens with Suzon returning from school for
The maid takes a tray upstairs, finds Marcel's stabbed body, and screams. Catherine goes up to see what has happened and locks the door. The others finally go up to Marcel's room to see him stabbed in the back. Catherine tells the others that they should not disturb the room until the police arrive, so they re-lock the door. Realizing that the dogs did not bark the night before the incident, it becomes clear that the murderer was known to the dogs and therefore must be one of the women in the house. Attempting to call the authorities, they find that the telephone line has been cut, so they will have to go in person to the police station. Before that can do so, the women are distracted by the announcement that someone is roaming the garden, someone whom the guard dogs are not chasing. The person turns out to be Marcel's sister Pierrette, a nightclub singer who is also rumored to be a prostitute, and who has not been allowed into the house before due to Gaby's dislike for her. When questioned, she claims that she received a mysterious telephone call in which she was informed her that her brother was dead. She sings "A quoi sert de vivre libre" (What's the point of living free?), commenting on her sexual freedom.
It is realized that she has been to the house before, as the dogs did not bark and she knew immediately which room belonged to her brother, making her the eighth potential killer. The women try to start the car, and find that it has been sabotaged, cutting them off from help until the storm subsides and they can hitchhike to town. The women spend their time trying to identify the murderer amongst them. It is learned that Suzon returned the night before to tell her father in secret that she was pregnant . She sings a song to Catherine, "Mon Amour, Mon Ami" (My Lover, My Friend), about her lover; however, she was sexually abused by her father. We later learn that Suzon is not Marcel's child but is the child of Gaby's first great love who was killed not long after the child was conceived; every time Gaby looks at Suzon she is reminded of her love for him.
Suspicion then swings to Madame Chanel, the housekeeper, whose actions the night before seem suspicious. It is revealed that she had been having an affair with Pierrette, who went to see her brother that night to ask for money to pay off her debts. When some members of the family react in outrage to the fact that she is a lesbian , Madame Chanel retreats to the kitchen, and sings "Pour ne pas vivre seul" (So as to not live alone).
In the meantime we find out that Mamy, Suzon and Catherine's "old and sick" grandmother, not only can walk but also possesses some valuable stock shares that could have saved Marcel from his bankruptcy. Out of greed, she lied that her shares had been stolen by someone who knew where she was hiding them. The spotlight moves to Louise, the new maid, who is found out to be Marcel's mistress. She declares affection for Gaby, but also expresses disappointment in her for her weakness and indecision. She sings "Pile ou Face" (literally Heads or Tails, but referring to the Ups and Downs of life), and removes the symbols of her servitude, her maid's cap and apron, asserting herself as an equal to the other women. Gaby sings "Toi Jamais" (Never You), about Marcel, saying that he never paid enough attention to her, while other men did. It is revealed that she had an affair with Marcel's business partner, Jacques Farneaux, the same man who has been having an affair with Pierrette. The two women get into a fight that turns into a passionate make-out session on the living room floor, a scene which the others walk in on and are stunned by.
Eventually, Madame Chanel discovers the solution to the mystery, but she is silenced by a gunshot. While not struck by the bullet, she becomes mute out of shock. Catherine takes the lead, revealing that she hid in her father's closet from where she saw all the other women talk to Marcel the night before. She explains the mystery: Marcel faked his own death, with her help, to see what was really going on in his house. She says that he is now free of the other women's clutches and rushes to his bedroom only to witness Marcel shoot himself in the head. Mamy closes the film with the song "Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux" (There is no happy love) as the women clasp hands and face the audience.
* "Papa t'es plus dans le coup" (Dad, You're Out of Touch) - Catherine and Company * "Message personnel" (Personal Message) - Augustine * "A quoi sert de vivre libre" (What's the Point of Living Free?) - Pierrette * "Mon Amour, Mon Ami" (My Lover, My Friend) - Suzon * "Pour ne pas vivre seul" (So as Not to Live Alone) - Madame Chanel * "Pile ou Face" (Heads or Tails/Ups and Downs) - Louise * "Toi Jamais" (Never You) - Gaby * "Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux" (There is No Happy Love) - Mamy
Ozon was inspired by the 1950s
Ross Hunter productions of Douglas
Isabelle Huppert won several awards for her role in the film.
Jonathan Curiel of the
San Francisco Chronicle remarked that 8 Women
was "a movie that is so original, so funny, so alive with drama,
intrigue, mystery and colors that you want to see it again and again",
citing it the "new masterpiece" in Ozon's filmography.
Roger Ebert ,
writing for the
Chicago Sun-Times , gave
Specific performances were cited for acclaim. Huppert's portrayal of
Augustine was met with praise. Curiel wrote that "Huppert's song and
dance—and her whole performance in the movie—is a study in
determination. Huppert has a reputation for her intense portrayals,
and in 8 Women, she steals every scene she's in as the uptight,
melodramatic, bespectacled aunt." Ardant also received praise for her
performance with Hornaday saying that "the showstopper is Ardant, who
in a sensational turn combining the earthiness of
The film was released on 6 February 2002 in France and opened at #3 in 493 theaters, grossing $5,246,358 in the opening weekend. It grossed $18,991,866 in the domestic market. The film's international gross was in total $42,426,583.
List of awards and nominations AWARD CATEGORY RECIPIENTS AND NOMINEES RESULT
Berlin International Film Festival
César Awards Best Actress Fanny Ardant Nominated
Isabelle Huppert Nominated
Best Cinematography Jeanne Lapoirie Nominated
Best Costume Design Pascaline Chavanne Nominated
Best Director François Ozon Nominated
Best Film N/A Nominated
Best Music Written for a Film Krishna Levy Nominated
Best Production Design Arnaud de Moleron Nominated
Best Sound Pierre Gamet Benoît Hillebrant Jean-Pierre Laforce Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Danielle Darrieux