Courtesy of Pascal Chantier/Moby Dick Films

Fall into the messy web of love that is Emmanuel Mouret’s Love Affair(s)

Written by Mackenzie Stolp

I remember very clearly my French friend Amelie describing to me how French people love to play games when it comes to love and relationships. She was describing her tumultuous relationship with her ex-boyfriend – which I found exhausting and hard to comprehend. If I didn’t believe her about French love games then, Love Affair(s) completely solidified what she was describing.

This film is entirely open about its subject matter and even though we follow a variety of paramours and their lies and deceptions between each other; Love Affair(s) is open about being a film purely about affairs. It almost becomes comical the sheer number of affairs that occur in this film – you could definitely play a drinking game with how many marital affairs, inappropriate relationship affairs and emotional affairs occur.

One thing the French do incredibly well is dialogue-heavy films. The art of conversation is at its richest here, where the plot could be moved quickly through open discussion, instead Emmanuel Mouret turns his main characters into masterful storytellers. The majority of Love Affair(s) plot is delivered through our main two characters Daphne and ­­Maxime discusses their previous affairs and from there the affairs within those affairs – all while simultaneously growing closer and toying with the idea of an affair themselves. Unravelling is the perfect word to describe this film; the further along you get the more intricacies, lies and deceptions are revealed.

Tone and subtleties can be hard to catch when watching a film in a language that is not one’s own but the performances of both Camelia Jordana as Daphne and Niels Schneider as Maxime were truly magical to watch. Their matched expressions of warmth and love are the soul of this film. The idea of warmth truly permeates this film from the characters to the setting and small touches. 

For a film about romantic affairs, Love Affair(s) is surprisingly funny and upbeat. The storytelling paired with glimpses of the picturesque French countryside basked in a golden light, this film is light, airy and easy. Slight romantics such as characters using hand watches to tell the time in the middle of the night by lamplight despite having mobile phones play into the overall romantic aura of the film. It’s honestly funny how a film about various affairs and betrayals can be so light-hearted and warm.

Although the film is an interesting take on affairs – it is not without its heartbreaks. Through the relationship of Louise and Francois we see the effect of Francois’ affair on his marriage, the raw and unsettling reality. Louise is devastated there her husband is cheating on her, the affair in this situation is not light-hearted and another simple story – it is life-destroying. It is interesting that even in the events of Louise’s devastating heartbreak, she uses games, manipulation and deception as a means to leave her current relationship. Every relationship in this film is complicated. 

Ultimately, this light-hearted and comedic take on love affairs is an enjoyable watch. The unveiling of each love affair and intertwinement is a fun journey to undertake. Love Affair(s) is a fun film that reveals some of the complexities of French dating.

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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