"Someday you will wonder how you could have loved someone like me," Philippe (Niels Schneider) tells Rachel (Virginie Efira), when it is perfectly clear that behind that glare that an office worker in the Châteauroux of the 50s felt for a young translator there was not something even remotely resembling an ideal love. In her tenth feature film, Catherine Corsini adapts the homonymous novel by Christine Angot and, for anyone familiar with the author's lacerating and self-defeating autofiction, it will be easy to name the monster that throbs under those harsh words: incest.
AN IMPOSSIBLE LOVE
Address: Catherine Corsini.
Interpreters: Virginie Efira, Niels Schneider, Jehnny Beth, Catherine Morlot.
Gender: drama. France, 2018
Duration: 135 minutes
In An impossible love, the writer launched her ties of empathy and understanding towards a mother figure incapable of dealing with (and reacting to) what happened during those weekends in which that daughter she had raised alone, through thick and thin, was going to visit that absent father who, in his day, refused to recognize his fatherhood as he had previously refused, out of pure class prejudice, to formalize his relationship with Rachel. With the complicity of his co-screenwriter Laurette Polmanss, Corsini transforms Angot's autobiographical novel into a film that starts from a nostalgic evocation in a classical key to fracture its continuity as history plunges into dark waters: ellipses that play in favor of an ethic of representation, but also condensed situations – the final dialogue between mother and daughter – which end up scheming too many ideas of weight in the speech of the writer. For example, it does not sit well with argumentation about the systemic patriarchal oppression that serves as the hasty resolution of a case at the end of an enigma novel.
Another problem arises from a point of view, but the way in which Virginie Efira sustains the erosion of time on the screen becomes the great reservoir of genius under the braid of lucky narrative decisions – letters read to the camera, some ellipses – and unfortunate. In Ephira seems to inhabit a spring Bardot and a twilight Romy Schneider.
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