Resnais's distant hearts
by Paolo Menzione, Camillo De Marco
Snow falls in Paris, the cold freezes hearts. Some look for a warmer, cosier apartment with their companion, others seek refuge in cafés, waiting to meet their soulmate, or drink in a hotel bar in the company of the barman. There are many ways to find warmth, but no cure for loneliness.
This is what master filmmaker Alain Resnais thinks, in his new film, Coeurs [+see also:
film profile] (Private Fears in Public Places), presented in competition at Venice, a comedy with witty dialogue yet a bitter tone.
"What struck me," said Resnais, "the first time I read Alan Ayckbourn’s play, on which the film is based, is the characters’ relentless determination to liberate themselves of their loneliness and the obstacles it brings. The sense of solitude is irreversible. There is no cure for the desire to not be alone".
Set in Bercy, the neighbourhood between the new National Library, the Seine and the Avenue de France, the film was shot entirely in interiors: numerous small theatre sets revealed with directorial skill and cleverness through which pass seven characters, all desperately searching for happiness.
Nicole (Laura Morante) is looking for the house of her dreams for herself and her boyfriend Dan (Lambert Wilson), who instead prefers to while away his time venting to barman Lionel (Pierre Arditi). Real estate agent Thierry (André Dussollier) tries to seduce his virtuous co-worker Charlotte (an irresistible Sabine Azéma) after discovering her hidden talents, while young Gaelle looks for love through the personal ads.
With Private Fears in Public Places, Resnais adds to his endless filmography yet another comedy on the search for happiness with delicately ironic tones, laying a veneer of pathos across his characters’ lives. We laugh, at times, and reflect upon our own lives.
Produced by Bruno Pésery for Soudaine Compagnie and co-produced by BIM Distribuzione, which will release the film in Italy, Private Fears in Public Places is being sold internationally by StudioCanal.