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The Baltimore Sun

François Ozon's Ricky at the Charles Theatre March 16

| Image by French filmmaker François Ozon was a bit of a busybody during the early to mid-2000s, thanks in large part to the range of his movies and the excellent female performances powering them: Charlotte Rampling in 2000's meditative drama Under the Sand; an entire cast of French screen royalty for 2002's murder-mystery musical comic melodrama 8 Women; Ludivine Sagnier and Rampling again in 2003's Hitchcockian thriller Swimming Pool. Since, though, Ozon's movies have been receiving much more limited American distribution. I can't recall if his 2004 drama 5 x 2 even played Baltimore or not, and I only saw the quite excellent 2005 drama Time to Leave on DVD. Home-video might also be how Americans caught Ozon's visually daft, deadpan satirical early works: his Bunuelian 1998 debut Sitcom or his 2000 Water Drops on Burning Rocks, both much more mannered movies than his better known 2000s works.

Now his 2009 Ricky receives a one-night only screening at the Charles Theatre through its La Cinematheque series hosted by the French embassy. Haven't seen this one yet, but it stems from a gem of a short story by Rose Tremaine and looks like a genuine head-twister from the always mutating Ozon. It starts out a relatively realistic drama about single mother Katie (Alexandra Lamy) getting together with her co-worker Paco (Sergi López, the great Spanish actor from Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyringht, Dominik Moll's 200 With a Friend Like Harry . . . , and Frédérique Fonteyne's 1999 An Affair of Love); they both work on the assembly line of a cosmetics factory on the outskirts of Paris. They eventually move into together and have a baby, the titular Ricky—who proceeds to develop a rather unique skill for a toddler and the movie morphs into something like magical realism. Given how unsentimental Ozon can be, though, the story provides a potent situation for his gifts at examining relationships between people—and, really now, not enough movies use totally enigmatic baby photos on their poster. Could be worth checking out.

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