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5 x 2 is a French film that was released in 2004 and directed by Francois Ozon. Unsurprisingly it has English subtitles.
The film was highly acclaimed on its release and is notable mainly for its unusual format. It charts the story of a couple( Valerie and Gilles) (the 2 of the title) backwards from their divorce to the first time the sparks flew between them, through a number of chapters (the 5 of the title).
It would not really give anything away to say what those chapters are :
Chapter 1 - the signing of their divorce papers and subsequent meeting
Chapter 2 - Gilles' brother and his partner come to visit
Chapter 3 - the day of the birth of their child
Chapter 4 - the wedding day
Chapter 5 - the very beginning of their relationship
I have thought about this film a lot since I have watched it but still have a number of difficulties with it.
Ultimately, on the good side it is well acted and shot. the dialogue is realistic and I like the way that each ensuing chapter challenges your view of the characters. Most commendably, the reverse format does not feel at all contrived and works well. However, I could not help but feel that the film had a massive void within it. I didn't feel any real engagement with any of the characters, and by that I do not meant that I purely did not like them - its just that I did not really feel that I was given the opportunity to get under the surface and find out anything about them and the motivation for their actions.
There is a theme running throughout the film of the possibility or impossibility of monogamy and fidelity which is explored to quite an extent, but this alone does not make a well rounded story. In essence there is a feeling of distinct stageyness.
I really enjoyed Ozon's film 'Swimming Pool' but I do feel that he really missed a trick with this one. The format leaves a lot of scope for exploring fundamental gender related differences within a relationship or just something between the couple that even explains why they are together in the first place, because as I saw it there really was not one.
I have seen various places where it has been summarised as a dissection of a relationship, but I think that that is far too generous and deceptive as to how sparse it is. In its favour, this sparcity means that it never descends into melodrama or sentimentality; however, I believe that there can be a balance that means that the viewer is not left disengaged and cold.
*** Cast and Crew ***
Director: François Ozon
Writer: François Ozon & Emmanuèle Bernheim
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi as Marion Chabart
Stéphane Freiss as Gilles Ferron
*** Plot ***
The film is composed of 5 sequences featuring 2 people, hence the title. The backwards timeline shows how their marriage fells apart and creates nostalgia as the happiness fulfill their early days.
Sequence 1 - Gilles Ferron and Marion Chabart sign their divorce papers.
Sequence 2 - Do you believe in fidelity?
Sequence 3 - Marion gives a birth
Sequence 4 - Marriage
Sequence 5 - How do they meet?
*** My Opinion ***
I got the inspiration to watch this movie while I watched Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in "Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train". I have reviewed this movie before. And I am very enthusiast when I find that she collaborates with one of my favorite directors, François Ozon.
This movie has a great line of story. I agree that the main story is very simple - just contains of 5 sequences that focuses on 2 people. But what make this movie great are:
 It has a backward timeline. For me, it is not easy to create a film with backward timeline, since the audiences have known the 'ending' of the story at the beginning of the film. The director should keep a good work and effort to keep the audience sitting in their seat until the story finishes.
 Every sequence gives an unexpected and surprise scenes. The audiences will not be able to judge who is right and who is wrong. Who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? Every sequence will give you a new perception for each character. And at last, you will only be able to make the conclusion at the ending of the film.
 All casts are very great and good looking. I love them. They play the rules with their innocent faces. But please don't judge the book from the cover only. Again, every sequence will change your perception for each character in the movie.
 The cinematography evolves from cold and static to warm and moving, as the actor actually seems to grow younger by changing the hairstyle and cutting his beard.
 Beautiful songs. I mean it. The film is full of great songs!
 Smart dialogues. They are full of thoughts.
I would like to give the review of the film itself. I would like to start it on 'a marriage contract', which makes a couple legally united by the bonds of marriage in France - accordance with Article 75 of the Civil Code, Article 212 through 215 - which set forth the spouses' rights and duties.
Article 212: Spouses mutually owe each other fidelity, support and assistance.
Article 213: Spouses will provide material and moral guidance for the family and ensure their children's education.
Article 214: If a pre-nuptial agreement does not regulate financial contributions, the spouses shall contribute in proportion to their respective means.
Article 215: Spouses mutually oblige themselves to a community of living.
By looking deeper in these articles, I think that to get married is not a simple thing. There are rights and obligations that bring along with the marriage. Are you ready?
In mentioned in Article 212, spouses mutually owe each other fidelity. One big question: do you still believe in fidelity?
Mathieu: "I don't believe in fidelity. It's impossible and frankly it serves no purpose. Why should people force it? It is not natural. Respect your partner. Build trust. But every couple has lies and secrets. And it's better not to share everything."
Yes, I agree with some parts of the above quote. Every couple has lies and secrets - and it's better not to share everything. But we also need to respect our partner and to build trust - by having fidelity, of course!
Although it not easy to believe in fidelity, but I think this is the fundamental of a relationship. It will also avoid any jealousy. Gilles and Marion have 'unspoken' jealousy which brings them to the door of divorce.
The film is also questioning about non traditional relationship (open relationship). Do you still trust your partner who is having sex with other(s) in front of you? Is there any jealousy there?
There is one scene which is quite surprise for me at the beginning of the film, while Gilles is in bed with Marion. It could determine what the different of having sex and making love is. By the way, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi is full naked on this scene. Just for your information.
*** Gay-related-theme ***
Gilles has one brother, Christophe - and he is a gay. Christophe has a new boyfriend, Mathieu (who is very handsome!). The film is also questioning about the fidelity in gay's relationship. Do all gays get to be unfaithful?
*** Additional Note ***
I hope that this section will help the couple who plan to divorce, since there are several points that need to be noted and agreed with the terms set forth:
 The name of the wife.
In Gilles - Marion case, she will not keep her husband's name. She will resume the use of her maiden name Chabart.
 Liquidation of the marital assets.
In Gilles - Marion case, the couple does not have joint ownership of any real property. The wife will keep the rental apartment, assuming full financial responsibility. Mr. and Mrs. Ferron have begun dividing their furniture in accordance with the annex to the provisional agreement. The parties have regained possession of their personal property, including family heirlooms.
 Outstanding bank loans.
In Gilles - Marion case, the parties have no outstanding bank loans in common.
In Gilles - Marion case, the couple has only one child, Nicolas Ferro. The parents have agreed to exercise joint parental authority. This expressly requires both parents to participate in decisions regarding the child's future, to consult one another and to act consensually. Nicolas will reside with his mother. Considering his young age, visitation will be left open to the parents to agree upon together. If they cannot reach an accord, the father will have the child on the first, third and fifth weekends of each month, from Friday evening through Sunday evening at seven. He will pick up and drop off the child at the mother's domicile. The first-half of school vacations in even years, and the second-half in odd years, are accorded to the father.
 Child support.
In Gilles - Marion case, he will pay 300 euros a month in child support for his son's maintenance and education.
In Gilles - Marion case, with regard to alimony, the spouses declare no significant disparity in income which would require it.
In Gilles - Marion case, they revoke all advantages granted to each others in their life insurance policies, and all other gifts and advantages granted during the marriage, whatever their nature.
 Income taxes.
In Gilles - Marion case, for the year 2002 through the date of the petition will be prorated in accordance with each party's income, and calculated as per the couple's taxable revenue.
 Expenses of the divorce.
In Gilles - Marion case, the expenses of the divorce will be divided equally, including the lawyer's fees.
*** DVD Special Features ***
*** Rating ***
IMDB User Rating = 6.7/10
My Rating = 7.5/10
*** Awards ***
5x2 shows five scenes from a modern marriage in reverse order, like Pinter's Betrayal as we see its disintegration from the final calamity to its genesis, gaining an insight into an ordinary middle-class relationship.