120 minutes| France-Switzerland-U.K.-Italy| 1997| Subtitled| Colour| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm

This is Resnais’ homage to Dennis Potter, with characters bursting into lip-synched popular songs to communicate their feelings. Sabine Azema and Agnes Jaoui play sisters, the former a successful businesswoman, the latter a tour-guide and graduate writing a thesis on 11th century yeomanry (‘About time someone got round to it!’ enthuses a fan). Past and present lovers glide across their view, including an unscrupulous property developer, a salesman with ambitions to be a radio dramatist, and a hypochondriac chauffeur. Having something of the style and charm of Jacques Demy’s Les demoiselles de Rochefort and Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You, Resnais’ film nevertheless uses song in a different way, integrating it into everyday conversation rather than allowing it to blossom into euphoria or fantasy and exploring the difficulties as much as the joys of romantic relationships. Some critics thought the songs too esoteric to carry the emotional resonance required, but the film was a huge hit and won many awards.

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