By Gary Kramer
French writer-director Fran�ois Ozon has worked with an enviable list of actresses: Catherine Deneuve in 8 Women, Charlotte Rampling in both Under the Sand and Swimming Pool, and in his latest film, Time to Leave, the legendary Jeanne Moreau. �They are very clever and witty and know many things about life. You can learn a lot from them,� he says, noting that his fascination with telling stories with strong female characters �comes from the dreams I had about Vivien Leigh when I was young. It�s easier to do portraits of women.�
To his credit, Ozon never makes the same film twice. �I do a film a year. What�s important for me is to try something new each time,� he explains. �I need to feel some desire, something exciting�a challenge. This time it was important for me to have a male character.�
In the elegant Time to Leave, hunky Melvil Poupaud (featured in the August issue of Out) stars as Romain, a gay man who learns he has cancer. �I wanted to lose the clich� of �gay and AIDS,� � Ozon says. Romain seeks out his grandmother (Moreau) to talk over some decisions about his life.
The challenge of making Time to Leave was to create what Ozon describes as �my own portrait�to have a mirror in front of me.� While the film is not autobiographical, �it�s close to my emotions,� he says. �It�s important to make movies about desire, and [to make] what you see on screen desirable.�
Ozon�s longings are certainly clear: The film contains several erotic sequences, one involving Romain and his boyfriend, one in a sex club, and finally, a tender episode in which Romain has a threesome with a straight couple hoping to conceive a child.
The filmmaker jokes about wanting to �make lots of babies� should he find himself in Romain�s situation. Would he like to have kids? �Not yet,� he responds, adding, �But one day I would like to feel what it means to be a father.�