Lunes Mundial: Ozon’s “See the Sea” (1997), an Early Example of the French New Extremity

Retrospectively seen by film critics and scholars as one of the first films of the French cinéma du corps (also known as the French New Extremity), François Ozon’s suspense thriller See the Sea (Regarde la Mer, 1997) is a bit tamer than later extreme cinema would become. Nevertheless, it has its transgressive physical moments (both sexual and violent). What’s most interesting about the film is the individual psychologies of both major characters, Sasha (Sasha Hails) and Tatiana (Marina de Van), as they play out in the context of an increasingly strange relationship. The strangeness comes from various boundary-crossing moments that start small but add up to a gruesome finale and suffuse the narrative with an overall sense of impending horror.

STOKER (2013): Chan-wook Park Reimagines Hitchcock’s “Foul Sty”

“Do you know the world is a foul sty?” In Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943), this line is Uncle Charlie’s (Joseph Cotten) summary opinion about earthly existence. Hitchcock goes on to show how the small-town American family can hide its participation in worldly corruption (in particular, its perversion of sexuality) behind a veneer of respectability. In Stoker (2013), Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, 2003; Thirst, 2009) draws back the veil that covers the dark underside of family psychosexual dynamics, a subject to which Hitchcock’s era allowed the Master of Suspense only to allude.