by Mark Wilshin
Positively frothing with all the Ozon hallmarks of female sexuality, haute couture fetishism and earth-tethering babies, The New Girlfriend is a more comedic companion piece to his perplexing psychosexual drama Jeune Et Jolie. And while two of its finest, and perhaps guiltiest, pleasures come in the shape of Anaïs Demoustier’s razor-sharp cheek bones and the sheer pleasure of seeing Romain Duris camp it up in drag, Une Nouvelle Amie is Ozon at his most Almodavaresque to date. Gone are the bitter days of youth of 5×2 or Time To Leave. But instead there’s a high-camp enjoyment of sexuality at its most kaleidoscopic extremes. Ozon’s film is loosely based on a novel by Ruth Rendell, but beneath this polite request for tolerance for all types of predilection – no matter how muddled or confused – there’s also a subtle and quietly rebellious message in the form of Claire, who only becomes a woman when she finally recognises her love of women. Or is it for men dressed as women? It’s more manicured than muscular, but The New Girlfriend is nevertheless a delightful explosion, as the family goes nuclear.
The New Girlfriend is showing on Oct 11th, 12th & 13th at the 58th BFI London Film Festival