© Camino/Filmagentinnen

Die Kunst zu Lieben (The Art of Love, L’art d’aimer)
France 2011

Opening 17 May 2012

Directed by: Emmanuel Mouret
Writing credits: Emmanuel Mouret
Principal actors: Emmanuel Mouret, Pascale Arbillot, Ariane Ascaride, Frédérique Bel, François Cluzet

Falling in love means something different to everyone. This movie is letting us into the world of the elegant French bourgeoisie with no care in the world except the state of their love life. Several stories – some linked together, some just like independent short stories – entertain us with the emotional games and desires of affluent Parisians.

The sections are introduced by individual titles and loosely narrated by Philippe Torreton’s voice-over. The directing seems effortless, yet with perfectly designed details and convincingly acted characters. The cast is well chosen and one recognises famous names from some of the recent French movie hits, like the excellent Francois Cluzet (Intouchables / Ziemlich beste Freunde). He is a middle-aged man hot for his new neighbour. She (Frédérique Bel) is an indecisive young blonde involving him in long and frustrating discussions when analysing whether she should have an affair or not. The beautiful and witty Julie Depardieu, Ariane Ascaride and heartthrob Gaspart Ulliel are also part of this amusing potpourri of seduction, romance and of how to complicate life.

In Emmanuel Mouret’s (director, write, actor) romantic – at times farcical – comedy everyone is obsessed by love, whether with sexual inclinations or not. A long-wed woman unhappily confesses that she cannot help being attracted to every good-looking man she meets. Another woman wants to get rid of an unloved and persistent admirer by secretly offering him to her female colleague. The crazy plan is that the couple must only meet in completely darkened hotel rooms. It’s all a bit silly but so well done that one genuinely feels sorry for the deceived young man. Luckily, the entire movie keeps its light and delicate tongue-in-cheek style. (Birgit Schrumpf)

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