Francois Ozon's feature-length debut—after more than a dozen shorts and featurettes (including MIFF 1998's See the Sea)—is an hilarious black comedy, irreverent, wacky, weird and wonderful. The director introduces his viewers to a bourgeois family, even opening wilh a flourish and a red velvet curtain pulled aside to reveal a bucolic suburban home where mum. dad and kids have lived in harmony for 20 years. The sun shines, birds chirp, cheerful voices sing Happy Birthday and then father shoots everyone!
Flashing back to several months earlier, this murderous patriarch, Jean, arrives home with a white rat in a cage which becomes the catalyst for radical change in the home. Recalling Pasolini's Teorema (1968) and MIFF 1994 Sandra Bernhard comedy Dallas Doll, Sitcom focuses on the impact on a seemingly innocuous addition to an otherwise stable household. A quiet chaos consumes these comforlable surrounds as sexual trysts, in many permutations, begin to spontaneously occur. The new Spanish maid and her husband become involved, son Nicolas announces that he is gay over dinner and his sister. Sophie, immediately does the same. Sophie attempts suicide soon after, but not before episodes of incest, S&M and assorted kinky sexcapades spice up an already fiery yarn that remains only too true to its title. Grand comic fun for the daring.