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LOVE SONGS

Director: CHRISTOPHE HONORE

FRANCE • 2007 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 100 MIN


HOT ON THE HEELS OF ‘DANS PARIS’, ANOTHER DELIGHTFUL EXPLORATION OF LIVES AND LOVES FROM WRITER-DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHE HONORE—THIS TIME WITH ADDED SONGS!

Actually, it’s not such a surprise to hear the characters burst into melody, since many great Nouvelle Vague film-makers—from Godard to Rivette and, most notably, Jacques Demy—released their own take on a quintessentially Hollywood genre. Honore clearly sees himself in that tradition, and he’s got the skills to match, shaping this roundelay of youthful passions with a happy-sad delicacy utterly Gallic in its offhand confidence. Current heart-throb Louis Garrel is all insouciant grace here as a journalist who finds himself in a unique menage-à-trois involving longtime girlfriend Ludivine Sagnier and his co-worker Clotilde Hesme, whom she’s taken a shine to. It seems destined to end in tears, but not in the way any of the parties expect, leaving Garrel to wonder if he’ll love again, and Sagnier’s older sister Chiara Mastroianni pining in the margins.

There’s a fundamental understanding here, and a gloriously cinematic one too, that some emotions simply have to be sung, yet Honore’s approach to Alex Beaupain’s words and music (think: Serge Gainsbourg meets Aimee Mann) is to treat them as shared confidences and insightful asides rather than show-stopping production numbers. A captivating echo of Godard’s ‘Une femme est une femme’ (‘A Woman Is a Woman’), it all unfolds on workaday Paris streets and bourgeois apartments, as unruly desires jostle with the fates, social conventions, the changing weather and the caprices of others, before delivering a final heart-soaring affirmation of romance. Sigh.—Trevor Johnston.

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