MIDDLE-AGED WHITE BRIT FEMALE. Writer by trade. Genre: crime fiction. Taut facial features but smile hidden underneath, awaiting the sight of male member. Hopefully tumescent. Bad relationship with publisher. Fantasies about Greeks. Types on laptop. Uncomfortable, but life is hard. Needs change. Needs inspiration. Lots of need. Tons of need. One sum-up word: Needy.

How many body pans can you stand? You know, the reclining shots where the camera begins at the toes and worms its way (slowly) up the female body? In Swimming Pool by Francois Ozon you see this shot several times. Way too many times. It's soft core porn with a fairly good story. Unfortunately, the story is not good enough to cover up the fact that it's soft core pornography. Ozon has been called "Europe's most daring and inventive writer/director" so that should give you a fairly good idea of what you're in for if you spend an hour and 43 minutes watching this film. Oh, wait: I guess if you live in Europe and take a recommendation like that seriously, I should try and make my point from another angle.

Charles Dance plays the publisher who offers his goosey golden-egg writer, played by Charlotte Rampling, a vacation at his empty house in Lubéron, in the South of France. She's obviously stressed out and miserable, if the cut of her jib is any indication. Shortly after she arrives and just as she's settling down to some serious work on that laptop, the publisher's nymphomaniac daughter arrives, played by Ludivine Sagnier and her breasteses.

The way Rampling's character wolfs down her food and sucks on her cigarettes while on vacation, along with the oh-so-symbolic removal of the wooden cross above the bed where she sleeps, tells us all we need to know about the mystery writer. The bouncing boobs and the naked men in the bed asleep the next morning tell us all we need to know about the daughter. So what is left to tell? The way two very different people can morph into each other when thrust together in a strange locale? The way we sometimes cannot separate fiction from fact? I'm not sure what the point was in this story, or even if there was one, aside from the body pans. It's not often you see a film with primarily female protagonists. When you do, it should be done with fewer gratuitous boob-shots than this. Try Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers or his Persona or Robert Altman's 3 Women for films that might mean something over and above childish sexual fantasies.

Ozon wrote this in collaboration with French novelist and screenwriter Emmanuèle Bernheim. They worked together on a previous film, Under the Sand, which I didn't see and probably won't.

"Ozon means to have perversity speak for him, but in the end, it doesn’t have a lot to say."
-- Ella Taylor from the LA Weekly

It's summer. It's hot, it's muggy. You could really use something to do to cool down. After all, you can only take off a finite amount of clothing, and rubbing ice all over yourself is getting tiring.

You know what would be awesome right about now? A nice swim in the lake! ...

What do you mean there's no lake anywhere near here? What about the river? ... Polluted, huh? Well, I guess we're S.O.L.

Not so fast my friend, that's why we invented Swimming Pools!

Swimming pools are artificial pools of water designed so humans can swim in them. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from slightly larger than a hot tub, to an olympic regulation sized swimming pool (50m long, wide enough to accommodate a number of lanes for swimmers, generally about 25m wide.)

You can have pools that are built above ground, or inground, built into a hole excavated in the ground. They will often have a shallow end, and a deep end, with the shallow end being shallow enough that some children will be able to have their feet touching the ground and still having their nose above the water. Generally about 1 metre deep. The deep end may be only slightly deeper, or it may be deep enough that you can safely dive into it from a high dive. Deepest I've seen is about 10 metres, but I'm sure there's much deeper out there.

You can have indoor or outdoor pools, and you can have pools built in funky shapes like a guitar.

There are two main types of pools. Personal backyard pools, and public pools. Let's focus on the backyard variety first.

Having a pool in the backyard is awesome. You've got a nice place to relax when it's hot out, swimming is great exercise, and you're going to be a lot more popular than you were before. And trust me, you could use a few more friends.

There are of course a few things to consider before getting yourself a pool. The first to consider would be how often would you use it. I myself live in a vast barren wilderness known as "Teh Canada", where the daily high temperature is -50C more than 300 days a year. Therefore, the pool would generally only be usable between the months of May and September. I would therefore get a lot less use of out my pool than a person who lived in Southern California, or anywhere else that generally has Hot to Mild temperatures year round.

The next factor to consider is the cost. A low end, pre-fabrication above ground fiberglass pool will still probably set you back about $4000 USD. Start looking at excavation, for an in ground pool, and you're probably looking at about $20,000 USD, with the costs increasing if you want a larger pool, a custom design, or have any adverse ground conditions that may make digging more difficult. You can pretty much spend as much money as you want on a pool, with increasing size, quality, and fancy features. I want a swim up bar.

If you want your pool to be heated, that's also gonna cost you, the price of the heater, plus another $60 - $100 USD a month, in addition to about $20 USD a month for electricity to run the pump, and about $400 USD a year for cleaning supplies to make sure your brand new pool doesn't grow algae.

And, next off, do you have kids? Kids love pools. They get to splash and play in them and it's all a grand old time.

They also have a nasty habit of drowning in them.

In the United States, there are over 375 annual drownings of toddlers in residential pools. More than 2700 are hospitalized. That's in kids under the age of 4 *only*. So, if you have children, or if you will *ever* have children over at your house, you need to build a fence around that sucker. One that they can't get through. In many places, it's illegal to have a pool without a proper fence around it. It only takes a minute for a kid to slip into the pool, and if that happens when you're not watching and can get them out right away, then they *will* die if they do not receive immediate medical attention. Even if your kid manages to avoid drowning, there is serious risk of permanent brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

Children need *constant* supervision when in or around the pool. If you don't listen to me on this, I will punch you in the face. Hard.

That's about all I can think of to say about backyard pools. Oh yeah, and don't pee in them.

And then there's public pools. They don't necessarily need to be owned by the government, although quite a number are, mostly by the municipal government. They're also likely to be owned by the fitness club, the Y, the local University, or any number of organizations.

First off, they are far more likely to be indoor pools, and are more likely to have a deep end, and to be a lot bigger. The two main differences are that they are quite likely to have a trained lifeguard on duty at all times, and of course the public changing rooms, with their communal showers, tiny little lockers to shove your clothes into, and the athlete's foot.

They will often offer scheduled swimming lessons for all ability levels, so it would seem to be a good idea to start out at a public pool and work your way up to getting your own. That's about all I can think of to say for public pools. Oh yeah, and don't pee in them.

To sum it up, if it's warm where you live and you can afford it, getting a pool can be great. Just be sure to be safe with them. If it's not warm enough to justify buying your own, go to the pool at the Y or something. I'm sure there's probably at least one near you that you can swim in for a nominal fee.

Or go to the lake. That's fun too.


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