“Chronicle of a temporary affair”: Emmanuel Mouret and the mysteries of desire

Posted Sep 14, 2022, 10:19 AMUpdated on Sep 14, 2022 at 10:37

They are past the age, they say, of deluding themselves in romantic illusions. They no longer have the slightest desire, they claim, to exhaust themselves in clandestine love stories where the absence of the other and jealousy inevitably cause bruises in the soul…

Charlotte and Simon, in their forties, meet at a Parisian party and instantly feel a mutual attraction. Charlotte, a single mother endowed with a solar temperament, assumes her desires and wishes to start an epicurean relationship where it will be imperative to avoid big feelings and the traps of attachment with their embarrassing complications. Simon, married and plagued by guilt, displays a much less relaxed profile than his partner, but he welcomes as a blessing this promise of a hedonistic and recreational affair where love, this dangerous spoilsport, will not have Copyright.

Unbearable lightness

Since his debut in the year 2000, with the witty “Laissons Lucie faire”, Emmanuel Mouret has not deviated from his line and has examined, from film to film, the thousand and one mysteries of the feeling of love with refinement, elegance and passion for language, unique in French cinema today.

After two marvels which delighted critics and spectators thanks to sophisticated scenarios where multiple characters intertwined their destinies (“Mademoiselle de Joncquières” and “The things we say, the things we do”), the filmmaker plays the map of purity and simplicity in “Chronique d’une liaison passagère”. Before the comical appearance of a second heroine at the end of the story (an appearance of which nothing is to be said), Emmanuel Mouret, in this subtle and always surprising film, “contents himself” with staging his two lovers according to their successive meetings.

Meetings so ardent and so complicit in hotel rooms and elsewhere that the spectator quickly understands that, contrary to what they claim, it is indeed a love story that Charlotte and Simon are living, from more and more upset by their momentous encounter.

There are the things we say and the things we do, could exclaim the intoxicated lovers who, as the film progresses, reveal in the bend of a look or a word these great feelings that they swore to fight with all their might.

A golden duo

As usual, Emmanuel Mouret orchestrates this wacky and moving “game of fools” with rare delicacy and a consummate art of suggestion. To describe this “Chronicle of a temporary liaison” where he observes with humor and empathy the small arrangements of his characters with the truth and with their unpredictable desires, the filmmaker says he wanted to build “a thriller film around characters experiencing feelings lovers that they must contain”. We can not say it better. And to embody these lovers in spite of themselves, Emmanuel Mouret has enlisted an ideal couple of actors: Sandrine Kiberlain, impeccable in the skin of a charming heroine pretending to be angry with the vertigo of passion, and Vincent Macaigne, convincing in that of a clumsy man, encumbered by his contradictions and refusing somehow to give in to the intoxication of feelings. The exemplary success of this film, mischievous and deep, is also theirs.

Chronicle of a temporary liaison

French movie

by Emmanuel Mouret

with Sandrine Kiberlain, Vincent Macaigne, Georgia Scalliet. 1:40 a.m.

“Chronicle of a temporary affair”: Emmanuel Mouret and the mysteries of desire