A failed London musician meets once a week with a woman for a series of intense sexual encounters to get away from the realities of life. But when he begins inquiring about her, it puts their relationship at risk.
Antoine has always been fascinated with a hairdresser's delicate touch, the beguiling perfume and the figure of a woman with an opulent bosom, moreover, he knew that he would marry one, fulfilling his dream of a perfect and idealised love.
Like Vanya, in Malle's last film, Milou never left the family estate. His mother dies during the May 1968 student uprising in Paris. The brother who is the London correspondent for Le Monde... See full summary »
They recount their impressions to the Interviewer. They met through a magazine ad, She and He. They corresponded through the Internet. He responded to her ad seeking someone to fulfil her fantasy for "a pornographic affair". This is their first meeting in a Paris café. He's a little reticent. She wants to know whether or not he's hairy. (He is; he's Spanish.) They retire to a nearby hotel room. The door of the room closes. Unseen, the affair is consummated... They continue to see one another regularly each week. They find they get along well together. Soon she suggests that they try normal sex the next time... Written by
In the search for intimacy and meaning in the dehumanizing urban environment, quite personable, intelligent and attractive people have to resort to newspaper or online ads to meet someone for romance or just companionship. In this film, however, a man and woman, both attractive and personable, seek depersonalised sex, not involvement. Or so they thought. Of course they become emotionally involved, and then the question becomes: will they continue?
This is a very nicely judged piece using a combination of interview sequences intercut with flashbacks. There are no distractions: we focus almost entirely on Nathalie and Sergi as they are interviewed separately about their affair. Their versions are not identical but there is only one flashback version of each encounter so there is not a lot of confusion. The curious thing is that although intimacy develops it follows the rules of the original impersonal pornographic encounter no names, no talk about jobs and families and friends, no swapping of personal detail. They meet once or twice a week in the same coffee bar and hotel room for six months or more, yet still know virtually nothing about each other (apart from their sexual fantasies). Why this holding back? Neither is currently attached to anyone else. The only explanation is that they really didn't want to get involved, or don't want to take the risk. Burned before? Who knows?
Nathalie Baye as the (slightly older) woman is poised, charming and not obviously hung up about sex. She seeks the zipless f*** of feminist legend. She does have trouble expressing her feelings for her `I love you' are the hardest words in the language (all right, `Je t'aime'). Sergi Lopez as her homme de jour is a bit more emotionally expressive but still holds himself back.
I suppose one could see the film as suggesting that the alienation of modern life can be traced to an unwillingness to become emotionally attached, that life is faster and cleaner if relationships are disposable without much pain. These two want intimacy, but they don't want to pay for it.
It's a well-made movie with plenty of Parisian bustle and lots of nice close-ups. It's all a bit sad, though. Have we been reduced to being consumers of personal relationships as well as sex?
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