Saturday, April 4, 2009

film review: SHALL WE KISS?

From a woman's point of view, it can happen. It starts out innocently enough - a chance meeting in Nantes, where Emilie (Julie Gayet) and Gabriel (Michael Cohen) are strangers who connect and become deeply, mutually attracted. They go to dinner, he drives her back to her hotel and forwardly asks for a good night kiss as a memento. They come close to kissing and then who knows what would have happened next before Emilie sounds the alarm demurely excusing her hesitance proceeding into a story that flashbacks for most of the movie. It turns out to be a bittersweet story of a married women, Judith (Virginie Ledoyen) and her best friend Nicolas (Emmanuel Mouret, who also wrote and directed), both acquaintances of Emilie, and the kiss between them that turns out to be more than a kiss. While most critics (mostly male) relegated this to a pile that ends up tossed in a corner, I found it romantic and elegant, attributes lacking in American films churned out using flashy fashion to entice women (considered a special interest group by Hollywood studios) to go see unintelligent mainstream films. Julie Gayet is seductive as Emilie, a character she perfected as the sophisticated friend to Daniel Auteuil in Patrice Leconte's MY BEST FRIEND, a satirical account of friendship that includes a Who Wants to be a Millionaire scenario that solidifies a friend's relationship. Just as with the podcast conversation I had with Patrice Leconte, there's a curiosity in and about relationships between best friends of the opposite sex and the extent of their friendship in hypothetical settings. I personally know several situations between opposite sex friends and one in particular, was a situation I found myself in, but that's another story. It's different in American society where evidently the boundaries between relationships are intentionally vague and nondelineated as portrayed in the weak, spineless made for television mainstream film MADE OF HONOR. In any case, SHALL WE KISS keeps the friendship intact despite awkward moments as the romantic situation heats up turning into something neither one expected yet could not escape. The interesting twists continued to mount into an uncomfortable situation as they try to manage the outcome without hurting feelings of the unaware parties. Of course, there's always a hurting party and that becomes the moral of the story. Despite the warning, however, Emilie succumbs to desire after coming up with absolute rules that Gabriel heartily agrees to and the final kiss did not disappoint. On my way home I thought about a couple of friends from a long time ago that perhaps I could look up and connect with. 

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