8 Women

What naughty fun. Writer-director Francois Ozon brought out the best in Charlotte Rampling in last year's Under the Sand. Now he does the same favor for eight French divas.

Catherine Deneuve is to die for as Gaby, snowed in at her country mansion while her husband, Marcel, lies in the bedroom with a knife in his back. Is Gaby guilty? Or did her mother, Mamy (Danielle Darrieux), do the deed? Or maybe Gaby's daughters, Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen) and Catherine (Ludivine Sagnier), hated Daddy. Gaby's spinster sister Augustine (Isabelle Huppert) had her reasons. Ditto Marcel's sister Pierrette (Fanny Ardant). And don't rule out housekeeper Madame Chanel (Firmine Richard) or the leggy chambermaid, Louise (gorgeous Emmanuelle Beart).

What to do as the plot simmers with eroticism and references to kinky 1950s flicks? Sing, naturally. Each actress has a number. You won't forget Huppert's sexy transformation, or the sapphic cat fight between Deneuve and Ardant. But all eight women are something to see and marvel at. Whatever you call this one-of-a-kind bonbon spiked with wit and malice, it's classic oo-la-la.

From The Archives Issue 907: October 17, 2002