Water Drops On Burning Rocks

Water Drops On Burning Rocks


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Suave travelling insurance salesman Leopold picks up young Zidi, who moves in with him. Six months later, Zidi's old fiancee turns up when Leopold is away. She's still in love with Zidi. Leopold returns unexpectedly. Then Leopold's transsexual ex-lover Vera shows up, having been dumped by her current partner.

Obviously theatrical - four characters and one location - Ozon punctuates the film with some carefully studied compositions, using mirrors, doorways and windows to break up the on-screen space and highlight the changes in the characters' relationships. There's also a bizarre spontaneous dance sequence, reminiscent of the "Cool Thing" routine in Hal Hartley's Simple Men.

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Rainer Werner Fassbinder's original 1965 play comes across as very time-locked - it is after all, pre-Stonewall, AIDS, etc - and Ozon wisely makes no attempt to update it to the present day. Instead, he lovingly recreates an early-mid 1970s milieu of polo necks and polyester that operates as a reminder of Fassbinder's own films.

Strangely, while the director has translated Fassbinder's dialogue from the original German (bar the occasional toast of "Prost") other 'texts' have been left untranslated. Thus, an understanding of German as well as French will probably help one get the most out of the film.

With Sitcom Ozon did an adequate impersonation of John Waters. With Water Drops On Burning Rocks he does an adequate impersonation of Fassbinder. Who's next? Jarman? Pasolini?

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A businessman seduces a twentysomething man, only for trouble to ensue after he moves in with him.
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Angus Wolfe Murray **

Director: Francois Ozon

Writer: Francois Ozon, based on the play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Starring: Bernard Girandeau, Ludivine Sagnier, Malik Zidi, Anna Thomson

Year: 2000

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: France


EIFF 2000

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