Entre Adultes

February 7, 2010By Heidi EllisonArchive

Chain of Lovers

The afterglow doesn’t last long.

Here’s a film that does what the French do best onscreen: talk – about love and sex and relationships. And it does it simply and cleverly, with great charm.

The film, inspired by Arthur Schnitler’s 1900 play Reigen (Hands Around), is also something of a feat: It was made by Stéphane Brizé in 2004 in only 10 days with two video cameras and a microphone, using actors who had no cinema experience. The actors and director rehearsed for six days, then the film was shot in only four.

That exercise in the art of acting was seen a couple of years later by Claude Lelouch, who decided to produce it, thus saving a little gem from oblivion.

Given the technical constraints, the film is completely devoid of flashy effects, but the scenario is as complex as the cinematography and sound are simple. It tells the story of six couples, with each vignette featuring one of them linked to the next by one individual, forming a chain that connects in the end: Camille is having an affair with Christian, who is married to Caroline, who is sexually humiliated by a job interviewer, who is in love with a prostitute, and so on.

The pace is slow, with many silences, but the exposition of the joys and sorrows of relationships and of the games played by lovers and sexual partners is so true and the acting so perfectly tuned that you leave the cinema feeling refreshed and informed – if not exactly hopeful about the enduring nature of love.

Heidi Ellison

© 2007 Paris Update

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