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Schiller, B. (2005). On the threshold of the creative imagination: Swimming Pool (2003). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(2):557-566.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(2):557-566

On the threshold of the creative imagination: Swimming Pool (2003)

Review by:
Britt-Marie Schiller

Directed by:
François Ozon

In this film, François Ozon has created a cinematic world of fantasy, in which he embeds the writing of a book with the same title as the film, Swimming pool. Reality and fantasy blend in the creative process, as, in making the film, Ozon's emotions blended with those he imagined for his character (Ozon [internet]). The creative imagination inhabits a space of illusion, a transitional space (Winnicott, 1967) that forms a threshold between our inner psychic reality and the external world, and Ozon has situated Swimming pool just on this cusp. As we, the audience, experience the creative process unfolding on the screen, Ozon leads us to wonder, especially at the ambiguous end, what distinguishes reality from fantasy. It is to explore this question at the heart of the creative imagination that Ozon has made Swimming pool (Ozon [internet]).

Structurally the film is divided between London and the Lubéron in southern France. The muted, drab tones of London reflect the clouded spirit of Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling), a British crime-fiction writer, whose unstylish and masculine character is modeled on such authors as Ruth Rendell, Patricia Highsmith, and P. D. James (Ozon [internet]). While London sets the stage for the film and for the book, the unfolding of the creative imagination takes place in the warm, light and sensuous milieu of the Lubéron, where Sarah's femininity blossoms. Sarah is tired of writing about murders and accepts the invitation of her publisher John Bosload (Charles Dance) to stay at his villa in southern France in order to find a different kind of inspiration and to write a different kind of book.

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