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NOT ON THE LIPS

Director: ALAIN RESNAIS

115 minutes| France-Switzerland| 2003| Subtitled| Colour| Anamorphic| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm


Adapted from a 1925 comic operetta, this is one of Resnais’ most delightful films. Gilberte (Sabine Azema) is a happily married but habitual flirt whose husband (Pierre Arditi) is confident of her fidelity because he was her first love. Little does he know that she has been married before to a boorish American (Lambert Wilson),
with whom he is about to embark on a business venture: how to conceal revelation of this earlier marriage? Exuberantly satirising high society indiscretion and high art pretension, Resnais also dispatches the musical numbers with great visual flair, Lambert Wilson’s rendering of the title song being a particular highlight. (He has a hygienic aversion to being kissed on the lips, he explains, though ‘anywhere else is fine’.) The splendidly stylised sets of Resnais’ regular art director, Jacques Saulnier, are not only aesthetically pleasing but thematically apt, for underlying the beautiful surface frivolity is the proposition that deception is at the heart of the human condition.

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