Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Les Chansons D’Amour
France, 2007. Alma Films, Flach Film, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Canal+, CinéCinéma, , Backup Media, Cofinova 3, Screenplay by Christophe Honore. Cinematography by Remy Chevrin. Produced by Paulo Branco. Music by Alex Beaupain. Production Design by Samuel Deshors. Costume Design by Pierre Canitrot. Film Editing by Chantal Hymans. Cannes Film Festival 2007. Toronto International Film Festival 2007.
Christophe Honore follows up more disturbing films like Ma Mere with this delightful musical that isn’t without some dark tones of its own. Clotilde Hesme, Ludivine Sagnier and Honore mainstay Louis Garrel are a menage a trois that the latter two created to save their struggling relationship. The situation works pretty well, even capturing Sagnier’s mother’s imagination, until a dramatic turn of events during an evening at a club puts everything into a new spin. It’s important not to give anything away, so I won’t say much more than that the entire film is peppered with lovely pop songs that accentuate the happy and sad movements of the plot, inspired heavily (right down to the chapter headings) by Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (and even including that film’s star Catherine Deneuve’s daughter Chiara Mastroianni in the cast). Other New Wave filmmakers get heavy tribute here, lots of visual references to Godard and literary points of Truffaut’s, but Honore doesn’t pat himself on the back in any smug way for being so clever. Paris looks absolutely ravishing in all shades throughout, the performances are strong, and while the storyline is nothing to scream about, it’s far too pleasant not to be thoroughly enjoyed.