By Robin Pomeroy
CANNES, France (Reuters) - Critics at the Cannes Film Festival had a field day on Friday with "L'Amant Double" (The Double Lover), the latest movie from prolific French director Francois Ozon.
The story of a young woman who has an affair with her psychiatrist and then his twin brother delivers lots of sex and even more Freudian symbolism in a film that Ozon said borrowed some of the styles of Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma and David Cronenberg.
Far from the intellectual fare that usually wins at Cannes, "L'Amant Double" is a romp that the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called "a wildly dated-looking and derivative film, a quaint adventure in fantasised naughtiness" that might become a "camp classic".
Ozon himself said he had fun pushing the boundaries of the erotic thriller genre that he has visited before in films such as the 2003 movie "Swimming Pool" that also competed at Cannes.
"I love the way De Palma deconstructs the thriller and how he has fun playing with the codes of the genre," Ozon said, referring to the "Dressed to Kill" director.
The film got a rousing ovation at a public screening in Cannes, but critics were less impressed.
"Over-symbolic, the film descends into a completely sterile sexy-chic bad trip that is dreadfully threadbare. A haphazard amalgamation of (Roman) Polanski’s neurotic cinema, De Palma’s twisted voyeurism and Cronenberg’s freak shows," wrote Renan Cros on French culture website Cinemateaser.
"Overripe and ridiculous, L’Amant Double is so filled to the brim with pure cinematic imagery and knowing irony, with innuendo and gleeful violations of taste, that it’s hard to resist its barrage of hilarious filth," wrote Sam Gray in British online daily The Upcoming.
The criticism is unlikely to bother Ozon, who produces on average at least one film a year and had clearly approached "L'Amant Double" with knowing irony.
Commenting on an unforgettable image at the start of the movie, a close-up of female genitalia that suddenly becomes an eye, Ozon said: "It’s something I had never seen in that way because, as a boy, you don’t do to a gynaecology clinic. I’m a curious boy."
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)