Picks and Pans Review: 5x2

updated 06/20/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/20/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Stéphane Freiss

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If one knew then what one knows now, would anyone ever take a risk, especially at love? That's the question that comes to mind watching this rueful, elegant film by accom-plished French director-cowriter Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool) as it tracks, in reverse, the dissolution of a marriage. Viewers first glimpse Marion (Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Freiss) as their divorce is finalized and they head to a hotel for one last, forlorn sexual coupling. Four subsequent segments trace key moments in their relationship back to a first meeting at a resort. (Five chapters, two people-hence the title.)

The structure is similar to that used by Harold Pinter in his 1978 play Betrayal, and the results are equally powerful. These characters wound each other and themselves, never realizing until too late the damaging groundwork they've laid. Bruni-Tedeschi gives a performance so heartbreakingly pure, it hangs there shimmering long after the movie has ended. (R)


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