Romance Films At The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival

March 4, 2024

I’m a sucker for a romance film or book and anything set in France, so when asked to review some upcoming films for the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival I chose two romance films. The French love to love and their love stories are some of my favourites to watch. They are always filled with passion, drama, comedy, nuance and conflict. This year sees five films all centred on love: Iris and the Men, Sidonie in Japan, The Nature of Love, Out of Season and Along Came Love.

My first pick will be showing on Canadian Night and is the romance/ comedy The Nature of Love. This love triangle film is set in Canada, venturing from the city to a cabin in the Canadian woods. Directed by Monica Chokri, this film explores what happens when a happily – coupled woman falls unexpectedly in love with someone else.

Sophia (a luminous Magalie Lepine Blondeau) is a 40 – year- old philosophy professor, in a long term, stable and socially – conforming relationship with Xavier. He is her intellectual equal but has turned into more of a best friend than a lover. Enter Sylvain (Pierre – Yves Cardinal), a working-class contractor who is hired to renovate their holiday home in the woods. Despite their differences Sylvain and Sophia’s chemistry is electric and she is powerless to resist his manly charm. An unpredictable, passionate and exciting affair ensues.

But Sophia is torn. Xavier fits into her world but Sylvain does not. Yet she can’t resist the magnetic pull of Sylvain. Will brains or brawn win the day or is Sylvain much cleverer than Sophia gives him credit for?

It’s funny, sexy, witty and sharp and gives more than a nod to the popular 70’s romance films. This film questions the nature of monogamy and takes us on a romp full of wit and passion. I loved it and may have fallen a little in love with Sylvain myself. To see which man you would choose you will need to head along to Palace Cinemas this March.

The second film is very different and begins in post war France. It is the latest film from acclaimed writer / director Katiel Quillevre. Her film, Along Came Love is a sweeping romantic drama full of family, history, secrets and love. It tells the story of a couple living in the shadow and secrets of a post war puritanical world.

It covers decades and explores the relationship between single mother, Madeleine (Anais Demoustier) and university student Francois (Vincent Lacoste). Despite some troubling warning signs these two are drawn together. Their past and its secrets will forever haunt them and influence their lives.

It’s a portrait of a relationship with all its messiness, misunderstandings and hurts but also the happiness, highlights aqnd triumphs. It’s also a story of a mother and son with a complicated relationship. It’s a France/ Belgium co – production which will keep you watching for all the nuance and complicated lives portrayed by this wonderful duo of performers.

The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival opens on March 5 and will run until April 2. For a night of romance, passion and drama head to Palace Cinemas for a feast of L’AMOUR, L’ AMOUR.

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