Flowers, many of them, at manic speed fill the screen. Anaïs, who is preparing her thesis in literature, is played by Anaïs Demoustier in a lightning performance opposite Denis Podalydès (great in Arnaud Desplechin’s adaptation with Julie Peyr of Philip Roth’s Deception, another highlight of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York) and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in Anaïs In Love (Les Amours d’Anaïs). Anaïs is always late, wears lipstick to go with floral dresses, and carries her bike up many stairs because she never replaced the lock and she is too claustrophobic to take the elevators. All of this we learn in the first minutes of Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s wonderfully entertaining film. The above motives as well as his character traits will recur many times throughout this well-structured portrait of a person who cares deeply about details that others might dismiss as superfluous, as he deals with deeply serious issues. as asides, at least in public, if not for herself. .
Anaïs offers her Parisian landlady (Marie-Armelle Deguy) red fruit juice when she is faced with two months of unpaid rent. A smoke detector introduced early on is more than warranting the slapstick, and the poster of Marguerite Duras in the protagonist’s apartment functions as the film’s guardian angel, as Duras returns in many disguises. Anaïs likes to share excessively and simultaneously ask intimate questions to people she barely knows. Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby may come to mind and Carole Lombard, Rosalind Russell or Claudette Colbert, who with lightning speed outwit anyone with tongue, wit and panache. Yet this heroine is undoubtedly a product of the 21st century with her realizations and her anger.
With a light, humorous touch, Bourgeois-Tacquet counters the countless so-called comedies in which the schlubby, most sophomoric dudes get the prettiest women – films often directed by men whose protagonists look like them in slightly enhanced and where magical wish-fulfillment is written in large. We are presented here in precise and often funny scenes with what men have long taken for granted. “I want my life to stay exactly the same” is a line beautifully delivered by Denis Podalydès as Daniel book editor. He tells his mistress very seriously that he never cheated on his wife – during the act of cheating on her!
Literature is strewn there, as a backdrop to the lives of the main characters and in reference to their affinities. In addition to the ubiquitous Duras, a photograph by Alain Robbe-Grillet with Odile (Annie Mercier), host of a writers’ workshop, a nod to Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s libretto for the comic opera Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, or a scene with Gena Rowlands by John The opening night of Cassavetes broadens the horizon. “Don’t take my books!” says Anaïs to the Korean couple (Seong-Young Kim and Estelle Cheon) to whom she sublets her apartment. She also alerts them to the malfunctioning of the stove, but at such rapid and bilingual speed that her alert goes over their heads. Suffice to say that a lot is happening around Anaïs and Demoustier has a field day while exploring the many facets of the character.
His energy and attitude can be both admirable and infuriating. When in the bathroom of Daniel’s apartment, Anaïs inspects the perfumes, lipsticks and trinkets of his temporarily absent wife Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), who is a famous writer, the moment looks like the multifaceted allure of Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Not that the woman is dead here, far from it, it is the fascination for other people’s objects that speaks to us.
We can’t choose what we like, infatuation is fluid and can manifest itself in personal items, such as a book with scribbled notes in the margins and smudges of nail polish. How original is it really? This is a question posed by a number of films released this year, from Axiom by Jöns Jönsson, screened in Berlin, to Madeleine Collins by Antoine Barraud, also at the Glasgow Film Festival and Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. At New York.
The swift current of the film carries a number of character messages that we can fish out, as if polished by the current, all bright and specific. There’s Anaïs’ brother, Balthazar (Xavier Guelfi), and his exaggerated, slightly grotesque but ultimately innocuous incident with a lemur named Gilbert, which perfectly illustrates his incompetence. When Anaïs stands by the river with Yoann (Jean-Charles Clichet), the writer/handyman who works at the conference she attends and where Emilie is a speaker, the body language and clothes he wears compared to the two women speak volumes.
When Anaïs visits her parents, a family pattern emerges. She speaks at length with her mother (Anne Canovas) about a swimming pool being closed, while a life and death update is not mentioned. Meeting her ex-boyfriend Raoul (Christophe Montenez) to go to the movies, she is not only late as usual, but confides in him what for most people would be urgent information aside. “You don’t realize what human interaction is,” Raoul says and accuses him of going through life like a bulldozer. She replies “You are violent in your inertia”, a beautiful line and one of the many small and big surprises in this charming film. The modifications are unpredictable and effective in making it clear that there are many different ways to live a life, to find purpose, to find love.
Opinion left on: March 09, 2022