Thursday, March 06, 2008

French Kisses and Bad Days Made Better

I went to see the film Un baiser s'il vous plaƮt or Shall We Kiss at the IFC Center as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. A film by Emmanuel Mouret, who spoke after the screening. Quite entertaining and if it finds American distribution, I'd recommend seeing it or renting it.

It tells the story of
Gabriel and Emilie who meet on the streets of Nantes randomly one afternoon. He offers her a ride , and the ride turns into a pleasant dinner with clearly romantic overtones. At the end of the night he goes in for a kiss only to be turned down by Emile, who believes that even a small kiss could have the most unexpected consequences. They cut to the story of Judith and Nicholas (played by Emmanuel Mouret), two very good friends, who as a means of curing Nicholas' need for affection decide to engage in a quick tryst that begins with just a kiss (what was probably the most awkward and funny love scene I've ever seen on film.) The film centers around there growing affair (Judith is married to adoring, rich and attractive Claudio) and the unexpected repercussions of their actions. Wry, observant and also quite touching, SHALL WE KISS? is a very contemporary meditation on the wages of infidelity. Mouret's intelligent, successful characters deluge their emotions and instincts with very open speculation as to why they're doing what they're doing, trying to appear as if they're in control while it's clear to everyone else they haven't been for a while.

My favorite part of the evening was the discussion after the film, a woman asked in french about the difference between American cinema where infidelity is often treated as tragic and French cinema where it usually takes on a more comedic light. Mouret responded, while of course everything in the film had consequences, in France infidelity was a national sport.

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