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Glassgold, E. (2011). Le Refuge directed by François Ozon Produced by Claudie Ossard & Chris Bolzli Distributor (France): Le Pacte, 2009, 88 min. Distributor (USA): Strand Releasing, September 2010; DVD release: February 2011. Fort Da, 17(1):97-103.
    

(2011). Fort Da, 17(1):97-103

Film Review Essay

Le Refuge directed by François Ozon Produced by Claudie Ossard & Chris Bolzli Distributor (France): Le Pacte, 2009, 88 min. Distributor (USA): Strand Releasing, September 2010; DVD release: February 2011

Review by:
Eric Glassgold, M.D.

Le Refuge: François Ozon and the Apotheosis of Gay Fatherhood

Normally, respect for reality carries the day. But its task cannot be accomplished immediately. It is now carried out piecemeal at great expenditure of time and investment of energy, and the lost object persists in the psyche…. Why this compromise enforcement of the reality commandment, which is carried out piece by piece, should be so extraordinarily painful is not at all easy to explain….

Sigmund Freud, “Mourning and Melancholia” (1917)

About halfway through François Ozon's film Le Refuge [The Hideaway], a pregnant woman goes down to the beach with the brother of her now dead lover. Mousse (Isabelle Carré), as she is called, usually avoids overexposure to the sun and the crowds, but with Paul (Louis-Ronan Choisy) she makes an exception. Paul and she sunbathe for a while, but then Mousse walks along the beach. A strange woman approaches her. At first, the woman admires both Mousse's pregnant glow and her bravery in wearing a bikini. Then, pointing to Mousse's belly, she asks, “Do you talk to him?”

“You should talk to him every day,” she continues. “The child must be the center of your life. You must sacrifice everything for him. The pain of childbirth is only the beginning. You must always love him and give him everything, even if later, he is a thankless ingrate.” By now, the woman has taken on a demonic quality.

The woman's aggression has gotten under Mousse's skin. Mousse tells her to go to hell and races home, but she is shaken.

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