Irish Film Institute -An Amazing Couple (Trilogy 2)

An Amazing Couple (Trilogy 2)

Director: Lucas Belvaux

France-Belgium| 2002. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 97 mins.

Taking centre stage in this particular tranche of Belvaux’s mesmerising slice-of-life is the passionate presence of Ornella Muti as Cecile, who’s on the teaching staff at the same school as Agns (Dominique Blanc), yet initially unaware of her drugs problem or her involvement with fugitive terrorist Bruno (Belvaux). With all this going on , it’s perhaps the wrong week to suspect her engineer husband Alain (François Morel) of infidelity, though his dubious behaviour might be explained by his hypochondriac suspicions that he’s terminally ill.
There’s ample scope for comic confusion, and Belvaux milks it with no little style, the careening camera and lively colour palette proclaiming a sharp stylistic demarcation from the muted tones and functional set-ups in On The Run (and indeed, the gritty hand-held intimacy of After Life). The plotting is worked out to the millimetre and the cast throw themselves into it with the unabashed zest of experienced farceurs. It would be souffle-light viewing if it weren’t for the fact that (if you’ve seen On The Run)this is where Belvaux’s grand design really starts to kick in. The cross-weave of coincidence and mistaken identity don’t just have a humorous pay-off; they’re in some instances exactly the same events which whipped up such tension in On the Run. There’s a frisson of recognition each time this happens, which is not only a source of cinephile pleasure but also adds to the sense of a broader tableaux of human experience unfolding outside and beyond the bounds of Belvaux’s narrative. On its own merits, An Amazing Couple is fluffy fun, but its place in The Trilogy’s wider scheme of things makes it richly involving indeed.
‘I started out to make a trilogy of films, but in the end I made four. The fourth film is the one each viewer constructs in their mind as they piece together the other three. And every viewer makes a different movie!’-Lucas Belvaux
In which order should you see them?
In theory, the structure of The Trilogy allows the films to be seen in any order, but some combinations work better than others. The tough crime drama On the Run makes a forceful introduction, and is probably the best way to start, although in France the frolicsome comedy. An Amazing Couple was actually released first. Either way, the intimate drug-themed drama After Life is clearly intended as the series finale and makes by far the most satisfying conclusion. All in all, The Trilogy is one of the year’s most remarkable achievements in world cinema.

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