Jeune et Jolie – DVD review

A teenage beauty cooly embarks on a life of prostitution in François Ozon’s story of sexual somnambulance


François Ozon’s Cannes competition entry is a story less of sexual awakening than sexual somnambulance. After her first joyless carnal encounter, inscrutable teenage beauty Isabelle coolly embarks on a life of prostitution.

But why? She has means (a loving, arty bourgeois family) and opportunity (youth, brains, beauty) so what could be her motive? Revenge on her remarried mother? The void left by her absent father? Ozon, like his protagonist, is cool, uncritical and gives little away, avoiding sexploitation by emphasising the enigmatic over the erotic.

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