Monday, December 14, 2009

RICKY: an early cinema Christmas present from François Ozon, via IFC

A mysterious little fable from one of TrustMovies' favorite directors -- François Ozon -- RICKY offers, in this age of multi-million-dollar special effects, a creation so simple, endearing and splendid that you can perhaps say, "Now, I've seen everything!", and go to your grave a happy man or woman.

The special effect in question is just a baby. But what a baby!

The meaning that Ozon (pictured at left, holding Ricky) hopes to provide via his little wonder is another matter, and part of the movie's charm and weight comes from the fact that this writer/director leaves quite a bit of his message open-ended. You can take away from Ricky metaphors and ideas about religion (a new and "special" birth), homosexuality (a subject never far from Ozon and here perhaps depicted as a different kind of "other"), the media (oh, those destructive bastards!), the family (Ricky serves each member of his rather well) and probably several other matters. Each works, though not completely.

Ozon, as usual, has gathered together a fine cast - led by Alexandra Lamy (above, left; a nice cross between Sandrine Kiberlain and Frances McDormand), the ubiquitous Sergi López (above, right), and a fine young actress making her screen debut, Mélusine Mayance (below), who plays Ricky's big sister. As Ricky, little Arthur Peyret (plus a few "doubles") is beyond adorable, nearing baby perfection. (And this is even before he does his thing.)

To say much about the plot is to destroy some of the movie's charm and surprise, so if you have not read about Ricky already, don't -- until you've seen it. I make no pro-
mise of profundity, yet Ozon's film, great fun, even sometimes quite moving as it goes along (particularly at its mother-&-son climax), still leaves you with much to mull over. This director has never been interested in the ordinary or the expected. He goes elsewhere and, for all their surface appeal and delight, so do Ricky the character and Ricky the movie.

The film opens this Wednesday, December 16, exclusively at the NYC's IFC Center (which has recently added two new screens for a total of five).

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