A dad, his daughter, and his lover of the same age as his daughter
Lover For A Day is about a philosophy teacher who is in a relationship with one of his students, Ariane, and his daughter, Jeanne, of the same age who moves in with them for some time. It is very French in that they immediately co-exist instead of making spectacles (although there are some hints that they are human like the rest of us despite being Parisienne).
The title of the film refers to the brief infidelities of Ariane. This behaviour seems to be treated as enigmatic, as a philosophical curiosity. There is nothing curious about it, the magisterium of anthropology is the place to turn to, it is well documented that the human animal has primary and secondary sexual strategies for transmitting their genes to the next generation. The answer is banal, the participants in this drama are banal, they do not rise above what is animal in themselves, there is no transcendence, no romance.
Ariane describes falling in love with Gilles when he says in class, "Philosophy is not about divorcing oneself from life". It was difficult not to see some humour in this in that he comes off as a bookish and torpid man. Of course Ariane is simply sleeping with him because he has roguish good looks, is comfortable in his own skin, and is the nearest authority figure.
One cannot fault the actors, Éric Caravaca, Esther Garrel, Louise Chevillotte, who absolutely outclass the boring story. I hope that the career of Louise Chevillotte takes off, as this appears to be her "break" as the Americans say.
The film's main positive is that it has a certain quality of eroticism, Esther finds out that Ariane has appeared in a pornographic magazine quite by chance, and there is no clang here as Chevillotte is genuinely attractive enough that this is believable. The sex scenes are very warming.
Garrel shoots in black and white because he knows nothing else, an old dog that cannot learn new tricks. Is he the last victim of 1968, dead alive? When the credits rolled there were little gasps and titters, "is that it?", yes that's it, no punchline, a little story without profundities.
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