18 certificateSitcom is a Film programme that first aired in 1998 and has been classified a 18 certificate.

Sitcom is a 3 star programme

Tags

Sitcom (1998)

Sitcom is the deliciously comic first feature from Gallic bad boy, Francois Ozon, whose short films, See The Sea and A Summer Dress, announced a talented new addition to the European savage cinema championed by the Dogma collective and Gaspar Noe.

Essentially, Ozon's film is rooted in the long established French tradition of bashing the Bourgeoisie. But it's the extreme nature of his attack on the comfortable mores of the middle-classes that sets this film apart. As The Guardian said, Sitcom is, "perverse, morbid and extremely rude, and has a narrative shape that bends itself into knots when you least expect it."

The story starts at the end, with Jean (FRANCOIS MARHOURET) blowing away his family as they sing Happy Birthday to him. Six months earlier, on the day that his dowdy wife, Helene (EVELYNE DANDRY), hires Spanish maid María (LUCIA SANCHEZ), Jean brings home an albino lab rat. The rodent wields a curious power over the family, instantly liberating their libidos. So, at supper on the first night, geeky son Nicolas (ADRIEN DE VAN) announces that he's gay, cops off with María's Cameroon husband, Abdu (JULES-EMMANUEL EYOUM DEIDO), and starts organising courgette-abusing orgies in his bedroom. Frilly daughter Sophie (de Van's real-life sister, MARINA), hurls herself out of a window, is paralysed, and transforms herself into a wheelchair dominatrix, whipping boyfriend David (STEPHANE RIDEAU) for fun and flirting with dad. Even Helene joins in the debauchery, attempting to 'cure' Nicolas' homosexuality, and her own repression, by seducing the son.

In fact, only Jean is unaffected by the rat, although there's a hint of crazed cannibalistic delight in the way he finally microwaves the corruptive vermin and gobbles it up before tackling his oversexed brood.

As the Financial Times stated, Sitcom gives, "A crash course in guerrilla eroticism," and in certain scenes, its depiction of rampant sexuality verges on the hardcore. The Sunday Times called the film, "a surreal piece employing unbridled, Orton-esque shock tactics," and certainly some of the digs at middle-class complacency are blunt. But the same critic suggested that "Ozon's audacity is refreshing," while The Guardian noted that the director shows, "a relishable talent for pushing stereotypes to the parodic limit."

Best of all, his film is hilarious. As Empire's critic wrote, "Ozon has much iconoclastic fun...gleefully kicking the crap out of nuclear family values and inflicting GBH on socio-sexual norms with a wildly anarchic, wickedly irreverent and mordantly funny bonhomie ... even Angry-And-Disgusted-Of-Tunbridge-Wells would be hard pushed not to find something to laugh at in a movie that's just about as left field as they get across the channel." In French with subtitles/Widescreen

Written by

Genre: Film

Running Time: 90 minutes (approx)

Production Year: 1998

Rating:
3/5 Stars

Classification: 18 Certificate

Filmed in Colour

Cast

Évelyne Dandry...The mother
François Marthouret...The father
Marina de Van...Sophie
Adrien de Van...Nicolas
Stéphane Rideau...David
Lucia Sanchez...Maria
Jules-Emmanuel Eyoum Deido...Abdu
Jean Douchet...Psychotherapist
Sébastien Charles...Boy with the zucchinis
Vincent Vizioz...Guy with red hair
Kiwani Cojo...Pierced guy
Gilles Frilay...Guy with mustache
Antoine Fischer...Gregory