The French are famously enlightened when it comes to love, and it is something that they have reflected wonderfully through cinema. In this edition, there is no shortage of tears of genuinely sentimental and cinephile emotion, where neither Rohmer not Truffaut will be missed.
There could be no other subject than first love, that which can tear us apart forever, for the first movie by Suzanne Lindon, the latest in the Lindon dynasty (not just Vincent, the actor and her father, but also the editors Jérôme and Irène Lindon), who incarnates an adult’s impossible crush in Seize printemps. In contrast to first love for a bourgeois white collar worker is the more popular Cupid’s arrow of À l’abordage, by Guillaume Brac, which echoes his no less celebrated L’île au trésor, this time with a charming overweight guy who wins over our hearts as he discovers life on a provincial campsite under the light of a summer we never want to end.
With the same luminosity, and the same state of grace, albeit in a completely different style, indebted to classical theatre, like a modern-day Diderot, we find Las cosas que decimos, las cosas que hacemos, the masterpiece of the great Emmanuel Mouret, in which romantic love stories are intertwined to ultimately unravel a rather painful encounter, featuring the handsome Niels Schneider making family plans and buying a Christmas tree. The golden-curled actor’s partner in real life, Virginie Effira, also appears on the bill as the star of Albert Dupontel’s Adiós, idiotas. Indeed, the couple met on the set of Un amor imposible, where age difference did nothing to prevent desire from ravaging the screen.
And finally, although Danielle Arbid was born in Beirut, she has lived in Paris since 1988 and could not be more French, especially when, with Simple Passion, she brings to the screen a novel by the divine Annie Ernaux that depicts how a woman’s love (the immense Laetitia Dosch) can be just as physical and carnal as a man’s, and that a submissive woman is not necessarily the victim. It’s all very French, very amorous, and above all, very cinematographic.
— Philipp Engel