On va s’aimer
Ivan Calbérac :: France :: 2005 :: 1h37
Two couples of thirty-somethings with -by cinema standards- customary middle-class professions deal with love and infidelity. Succumbing to desire as an escape from the self-induced monotony of daily life is hardly an original theme for a movie, and here it is exposed with almost painful simplicity. To top up the embedded mediocrity, we are treated with unappealing musical interludes sung by actors who can not sing. (Who is that supposed to amuse?) Mr Calbérac dealt with a similar theme in his first movie Iréne, but with a certain lightness and comedy he entertained the audience away from his otherwise over-simplicified reality and lack of insight. But the only humorous scene you will find has been ripped off from an Australian beer commercial, and the last thought-over shot was the poster at the entrance.
But to dedicate a few words to a wasted hour and a half of viewing: The weak characters -and their singing- are contrasted with a beautiful but unavailable Stringfellows dancer half way through the film, prompting, as any perfection does, the character into contemplation and action. If the director understands that his character is motivated by perfection, then why is the audience not treated to some? What is our expected gain? And even if you want to emphasise blandness in conversation, action and singing, how can we believe that the charming Melanie Doutey -even in this naive role- is so common? It would have made more sense to choose another actress or adjust her role to a chronically ill-tempered character. Of course, pointing out flaws is close to futile in a school-play type production of a script which would have been funnier and more insightful had the (in principle good) actors just improvised their way through.
So we are left with normal people (read here: weak and uninteresting) leading normal lives, but ruffling that dullness up with a little promiscuity, which is portrayed as equally devoid of interest. The moral must be -following Mr Onteniente’s Camping– that we can content ourselves through recognition with other dull-witted characters. Besides being an insult to the audience, this takes us far from the entertaining French tradition of creative dialogues and word-game humour, or the arts as a source of inspiration. Although still hoping that we are not witnessing the birth of a contemporary Nouvelle Vague of French cinema like this, I will baptise the trend nonetheless as the Flat Ripple. If we remember that the dot com bubble prompted a Nerd-acceptation wave in cinema, we can get seriously worried about what this is saying about our current Zeitgeest, as the Flat Ripple defends the bourgeois bland. As for Mr Calbérac, if his movies are inspired by his life, he would do well to get out a little more and make some new friends – even misanthropists’ can boast of an, albeit cynical, sense of humour, if they are willing to talk to you…