Wednesday evening marked the end of the 23rd annual French Film Festival UK at The Courtyard in Hereford with a most stereotypical French tale of young love, ménage à trois, lesbian lovers, affairs, deceit and of course, a beautiful setting that feeds ones appetite for French cityscapes.
Hereford’s ‘Courtyard Theatre‘ is a newcomer in an impressive list of prestigious film houses around the country that took part in the festival, including Manchester’s ‘Home Theatre‘ and Edingburgh’s ‘Filmhouse Cinema‘.
‘All About Them’ Film Review and Thought’s
Director/Writer Jérôme Bonnell brings us ‘All About Them’ (À trois on y va), a tale of three young characters living in Lille, searching for deeper connections through unconventional methods that often seem clichéd in French cinema.
Mélodie, played by Anaïs Demoustier, is a budding criminal solicitor struggling to stay on top of her finances due to a loyalty for her questionable employer. She places herself in a complicated romantic liaison with Charlotte (played by beautiful newcomer to French cinema Sophie Verbeeck) and further digs herself into a deeper hole when Charlotte’s veterinarian boyfriend of four years returns home early to their newly purchased love nest after having been away.
This dramedy cleverly gives us close escapes, humorous dialogues and at times brings us to wonder where it will take the characters after so much shuffling between lovers. Micha, played by Félix Moati, whose dark eyes and wild dark curls have mesmerized both Charlotte and Mélodie, comes across as naïve, with so many close obvious encounters taking place around him whilst remaining unaware. You often feel Mélodie is the loser in this love triangle as she ends ups passionately involved with this seductive couple who cannot bare to live without each other.
You begin to believe that these three may deliver the goods and succeed in living this envious ménage à trois. It feels like perhaps Bonnell put too much effort into detail rather than comedy timing and the final picture. Throughout the film I found myself lingering on minuscule details such as fresh freckled skin, Mélodie’s red wedges and Charlotte’s sparkling blue eyes, a sign that perhaps I was not pulled in by the passion these three were feeling. The red wedges at times seemed to have their own starring role.
There were moments I found it difficult to connect with Charlotte’s character, whose eyes seemed to tell of a hidden agenda. This aspiring singer’s free spirit and evident beauty characterize the typical stamp of the fierce French women with alluring seduction and mystery, yet her avoidance of Mélodie’s texts and occasional ‘kissing encounters’ with her, leave you wondering what kept Mélodie longing for her presence after being ghosted by her on several occasions.
In turn, Melodie and Micha have a stronger emotional connection by virtue of their accomplished careers, and more grounded personalities giving you a sense of permanence through their lusting eyes.
The ending leaves you feeling a bit empty, a trend that seems to be taking form in the French films I have watched during the festival. Perhaps the art is in the story continuing and taking shape in our minds.
Article written by Michelle Cuadra, Creative Director Hereford City Centric Retail and Culture Community