Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Coeurs
France/Italy, 2006. Soudaine Compagnie, StudioCanal, France 2 Cinema, Societe Francaise de Production, BIM Distribuzione, Banque Populaire Images 6, Canal+, TPS Star, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Eurimages, Region Ile-de-France. Screenplay by Jean-Michel Ribes, based on the play by Alan Ayckbourn. Cinematography by Eric Gautier. Produced by Bruno Pesery. Music by Mark Snow. Production Design by Jacques Saulnier, Solange Zeitoun. Costume Design by Jackie Budin. Film Editing by Herve de Luze, Issac Solemon. Toronto International Film Festival 2006.
Alan Ayckbourn’s play is given cinematic treatment by perennial experimenter Alain Resnais in this pleasant if not groundbreaking multi-character affair. Love and loneliness in Paris is the age-old theme being touched upon by a disparate group of individuals who are all linked one way or the other: real estate agent André Dussollier is showing apartments to engaged couple Laura Morante and Lambert Wilson, she increasingly unhappy as he spends more of his time alone at a fancy bar complaining to the bartender (Pierre Arditi) that he feels stifled by his relationship. Arditi has an ailing father at home who is violent and vicious in his dementia, cared for in the evenings by Sabine Azéma, who is also Dussollier’s secretary during the day. She gives her boss videotapes of a Desert Island Discs-like television show that she may or may not realize are taped over dirty films, so when Dussollier watches them he suspects she is trying to tell him something. Meanwhile, his lonely daughter (a delectable Isabelle Carré) is searching for romance and finds it in the dishonest Wilson. Wonderful dialogue and charming characters combine with some very appealing images (including some eye-popping set design) that will make it the right choice for anyone who does not mind that there is no particular immediacy to it, and that the pace is hopelessly slack.