Love is complicated. Some see it as a priceless gift or blessing while others describe it as an unshakeable disease. It can be comforting, enriching, elevating, thrilling and divine. It can also be messy, unruly, feral, ferocious and cruel, particularly if you are suffering from acute depression. In Dans Paris aka In Paris (2006), French filmmaker Christophe Honoré (Ma mère aka My Mother , Les chansons d’amour aka Love Songs , Les Bien-Aimés aka Beloved ) introduces us to … Continue reading BLUE CHRISTMAS: DANS PARIS (2006)
It’s taken me a year but I’ve finally managed to compile a list of my Favorite Films of the Decade: 2000-2009 so I thought I’d share it. My introduction echoes some earlier thoughts about fear and cinema that I shared during Halloween and wanted to expand upon. Besides my alphabetical list of Favorite Films of the Decade I also compiled lists of some Favorite Documentaries, … Continue reading A Decade of Fear
When I first mentioned that I was going to start “Modern Mondays” at Cinebeats I briefly discussed how much I liked musicals so I thought I’d share a few thoughts about the best musical I’ve seen in recent years, Love Songs (aka Les chansons d’amour; 2007).
Love Songs was directed by the talented French filmmaker and writer Christophe Honore (Ma mère; 2004, Dan Paris; 2006) and features an original musical score by composer Alex Beaupain. It also stars one of my favorite working actors, the incredibly handsome, charming and charismatic Louis Garrel (The Dreamers; 2003, Regular Lovers; 2005, Dans Paris; 2006). The film tells a rather simple but multilayered and bittersweet story about three young lovers living in Paris who are torn apart physically and emotionally after one of them unexpectedly dies. Romantic films featuring bisexual threesomes instead of typical “boy meets girl” couples are rare enough, but I’m pretty sure that Love Songs is one of the first full-length musical involving a ménage à trois.
The film’s unconventional take on love and loss is refreshing and beautifully handled by director Christophe Honore. In many ways Love Songs is the director’s ode to French cinema, particularly musicals, from the 1960s. Fans of classic French films such as Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), Francois Truffaut’s Jules and Jim (1962) and Jean-Luc Godard’s A Woman Is a Woman (1961) will easily spot their influence on Honore’s film, but like the New Wave artists that he celebrates here, director Christophe Honore is clearly interested in breaking new ground. He sidesteps much of the ambiguity that was often a trademark of ’60s cinema to unabashedly deal in honest human anguish, passion and desire.
Love Songs is a sentimental film and I appreciated its sweetness and romanticism, but it’s also a thoughtful meditation on loss and the painful grieving process that occurs after we loose someone we deeply care about. There’s nothing more agonizing than the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one and I think Love Songs greatest achievement besides its wonderful score, smart script and beautiful cinematography is the way in which it expertly conveys that overwhelming sense of unexplainable sorrow that can become paralyzing when you’re in deep mourning.