When, at the beginning of the film Chronicle of a temporary liaison, Charlotte and Simon agree to maintain a relationship devoid of complications or sentimental commitment, we know from the outset, unlike them, that love awaits them at the bend. Indeed, after the happy bachelor and the unfaithful married man for the first time have promised each other meetings strictly based on the pleasure of being together, the attachment blossoms. With his customary verve and his keen sense of observation, Emmanuel Mouret offers here another of those marvelous cinematic idylls of which he has the secret.
“What interested me was the situation that developed between these two characters, these two lovers who agree to see each other only for pleasure; who undertake not to commit”, explains Emmanuel Mouret.
Everything goes smoothly in this delicious marivaudage in which Charlotte (Sandrine Kiberlain) and Simon (Vincent Macaigne) indulge, until…
“There is this famous bomb under the table [pour reprendre l’image hitchcockienne du suspense] which resides in the inevitable question: “What if the feelings came?” I found the situation exciting for this reason. Can a happy relationship that is going well last? Obviously, there must be trouble, otherwise there is no film. And here, this boredom is love. »
This is refreshing, insofar as often, in the cinema, love is the goal to be reached and not the obstacle to be circumvented.
The filmed word
“Love stories have existed since the dawn of time. They are interesting precisely because love, in all societies, is governed by mores, by moral codes which are more or less clear, which diverge, which are discussed, which change, which evolve or regress… My characters are confronted with conflicts of desire, with conflicts of fidelity: are we faithful to our commitments, or are we faithful to what we feel at the moment? What fascinates me, basically, are the moral questions: the characters who try to find their way, who try to explain themselves…”
On this subject, as usual with the filmmaker, Chronicle of a temporary liaison gives pride of place to a rich and spiritual dialogue. A subtly funny dialogue, but at times surprisingly poignant (impossible to have dry eyes during a certain monologue by Vincent Macaigne).
“It took me a long time to accept the fact that all this speech is cinematic. Someone who speaks in the cinema attracts the eye, simply because as a spectator, we want to see if what the character says corresponds to what he feels, to what he displays or releases. Suddenly, the face becomes a screen: a screen that shows, or a screen that hides. I believe that speech brings us closer to faces in cinema. Moreover, speech in cinema, as in literature, summons the spectator’s imagination, makes it work: a character who is going to tell what happened to him, we will be forced to imagine it. »
To continue Emmanuel Mouret: “It’s only little by little, over time, that I realized that I like when ‘it speaks’ in films; that I prefer films where it’s the silence that makes the event, and not the word. Except that, for it to be silence that makes an event, it has to speak all the time or almost. And then, several of the questions that preoccupy my characters go through language…”
Tribute to the masters
As the filmmaker explains, this way of looking at spoken language in the context of cinematographic language only gradually took shape. As Emmanuel Mouret reveals, it is his predilection for a certain cinema of yesteryear that helped him “find his way”, like his characters.
“I feed on cinema. I am very marked by American, Italian and French comedy from the 1930s to the 1950s. It’s surprising, but cinema has never been as “talking” as at the beginning of talkies: Capra, Hawks, Lubitsch… Making people talk my characters as I do comes from this admiration for a whole bunch of filmmakers like them. »
With this eleventh feature film, Emmanuel Mouret proves that in the matter, he has nothing to envy to his masters to film.
The film Chronicle of a temporary liaison premieres November 12 and 13 at Cinemania, before hitting theaters November 18.