21 December 2008

'NOT HERE TO BE LOVED' (Dir. Stephane Brize, 2005, France) - Life Lessons

Why is it that when two people falling in love in movies these days is represented in such a nauseating way it makes one want to collectively generalise all of the romantic comedies ever made especially those churned out by the likes of Judd Apatow and Richard Curtis into a special category reserved for sentimental porridge. Perhaps it is somewhat of a clique to say that French cinema continues to produce films about love in such a wonderfully light hearted and convincing manner but the influence of a film maker like Rohmer clearly resonates through the restrained direction of Stephane Brize. Many cine literate directors find it quite problematic to simply film the facts but Brize takes real pleasure in exploring what is a very simple and basic idea, avoiding complicated and ridiculous plot lines and contrivances which typically plague many Hollywood films about contemporary relationships. Casting is crucial here and much of the narrative is carried by the two central performances which are both nuanced and controlled. The ending cleverly acts as a comment on genre conventions, with Brize choosing to bring back together the confused lovers but whether or not this version of the truth is the right one is ambiguously depicted by adopting only one point of view; do they really end up together happily ever after or do they just accept their fear of wanting to be loved and remain trapped in their own mundane lives? A real gem of a movie and its a relief to come across a film that genuinely refuses to be condescending to its audience.

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