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8 Women (DVD)

 

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8 Women (French: 8 Femmes) is a 2002 French dark comedy musical film, written and directed by François Ozon. Based on the 1958 play by Robert Thomas, it features an ensemble cast of high-profile French actresses that includes Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Ludivine Sagnier, and Firmine Richard. Revolving around an eccentric family of women and their employees in the 1950s, the film follows eight women as they gather to celebrate Christmas in an isolated, snowbound cottage only to find Marcel, the family patriarch, dead with a knife in his back. Trapped in the house, every woman becomes a suspect, each having her own motive and secret.

Ozon initially envisioned a remake of George Cukor's 1939 film The Women, but eventually settled on Thomas's Huit femmes after legal obstacles prevented him from doing so. Drawing inspiration from Cukor's screwball comedies of the late 1930s and the 1950s work of pioneering directors such as Douglas Sirk, Vincente Minnelli, and Alfred Hitchcock, 8 Women blends farce, melodrama, musical, and murder-mystery film while addressing murder, greed, adultery, and homosexuality. Set primarily in the entry hall of a manor house, the film recreates much of the play's original theatrical feel. It also serves as a pastiche of and homage to the history of film and the actresses' filmographies.

The film's premiere was held on January 8, 2002 in Paris, where filming had taken place. 8 Women competed for the Golden Bear at the 52nd Berlin International Film Festival, where its all-female cast was awarded the Silver Bear. Released to widespread critical acclaim, with major praise for the stars, the film was nominated for twelve César Awards, including Best Film. At the 2002 European Film Awards, the film was nominated for six awards, including Best Film and Best Director; it won for Best Actress for the eight principal actresses.

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