Mademoiselle Chambon (2009)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  

France, 2009.  , , , , , , , , , , , .  Screenplay by Stephane Brize, , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by Independent Spirit Awards 2010.

 is wonderful as a builder whose factory worker wife () throws out her back and requires him to go pick their son up from his grammar school in their small town.  At school he meets his son’s teacher () and they have an immediate spark between them, nothing tawdry but a bond that they are helpless to avoid exploring.  He fixes a window in her house and then asks her to play violin for him, which expands his imagination and only intoxicates him further, so that when they begin to carefully explore a physical connection they do so with plenty of care but no ridiculously overwhelming guilt.  This subtle film about big moments in small lives does not rewrite the book on intelligent and thoughtful French cinema, and there’s more than a little class snobbery involved in showing a working class man discovering a new reason for living because he is exposed to classical music.  Thanks to Kiberlain’s not playing her character like a ridiculous bourgeoise, and Lindon’s never overdoing the gruff, silent type, it comes off as honest and sweet, though for everyone it won’t exactly be riveting.

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