The heartbreak of love, loss in "5x2"

"It's over," she says. "There's nothing left to say."

"Can we try again?" he asks quietly.

This scene, of the last moments of a broken marriage, comes at the beginning of François Ozon's haunting "5x2." Like Harold Pinter's play (and 1983 movie) "Betrayal," Ozon's film begins at the end of a relationship and rewinds to the start, showing us the seeds of anger and indifference, visible from the onset if we know to look for it.

As the title indicates, the film consists of five scenes of two people: Gilles (Stéphane Freiss) and Marion (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi), a thirtysomething married couple living in Paris. In the opening scene, a matter-of-fact lawyer reads the divorce agreement (dividing the belongings, sharing the child, prorating taxes); moments later they're in a hotel room, having angry sex for the last time. Later, we see the baby's birth, the wedding and the day they first fell in love, on a beach where Marion casually remarks that she's heard the tide is dangerous. Walking into the sunset together never looked so bittersweet.

Freiss and Bruni-Tedeschi are marvelous actors, but Ozon, as he so often does, focuses on the woman. Bruni-Tedeschi has one of those pale, changeable faces that can look startlingly beautiful and ravaged in the same scene; her Marion is quietly grieving for something long gone. Ozon, as he's shown in his many recent films (particularly "Under the Sand"), knows a thing or two about love and loss; "5x2" achingly demonstrates both.

Movie review 3 stars


"5x2," with Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Stphane Freiss, Franoise Fabian, Michael Lonsdale. Directed by Franois Ozon, from a screenplay by Ozon and Emmanule Bernheim. 90 minutes. Rated R for strong graphic sexuality, language and some drug content. In French with English subtitles. Varsity.