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CANNES 2016 Directors’ Fortnight

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After Love: "What’s left of our love?"

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- CANNES 2016: Belgian director Joachim Lafosse presented his 7th film at Directors’ Fortnight, starring Bérénice Béjo and Cédric Kahn playing a couple that tears itself apart

After Love: "What’s left of our love?"
Bérénice Bejo, Cédric Kahn and Jade and Margaux Soentjens in After Love

When love breaks down, when feelings disappear, what’s left is material, logistics: an apartment, furniture, child support, the children’s schedules. Marie and Boris have lived together for 15 years. They have two young daughters, twins Jade and Margaux. Marie and Boris are no longer in love, but they can’t agree on the means or how to separate. The 15 years they spent together has put an invisible and insurmountable wall between them. Marie bought their apartment, but Boris is the one who renovated it. She has invested in it, he has invested in it. What’s her money worth? What’s his work worth? When they come to blows over the material terms and conditions of their separation, they are crushed by the intimacy imposed on them by being forced to live together. Destiny comes knocking nonetheless to call them to order, and above all to remind them that they are parents.

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As the title suggests, it’s a question of money and logistics in After Love [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Joachim Lafosse
film profile
]
, the new film by Joachim Lafosse, which was unveiled in Directors’ Fortnight at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. When Marie and Boris start tearing one another to pieces, each fighting in turn against the end of love, and for the possibility of a new life, their everyday routine gives tempo to their concerns. From the kitchen to the bathroom, from the fridge to the washing machine, household chores take precedence over words of love, invading the space and crystallising the tension in a living situation that’s dragging on forever. The family home becomes a prison, where Marie and Boris are being suffocated by their anger and bitterness. Only the accident, which drives them out of their enclosure, allows them to find their way back to the path of dialogue, and to resolve their lovers’ crisis turned household crisis. What’s left of our love? Our children, more often than not. Marie and Boris don’t want to be lovers anymore, they don’t even want to be friends anymore, but they will, through thick and thin, always be parents. 

To play this couple, this fantasy of a film, made up of household scenes, needed two solid actors, to play out a story as old as the world, brought up to date by an approach as close to material contingencies as possible. Bérénice Béjo excels in the role of Marie, with a performance as harrowing during her bouts of silence as it is during the shouting. Cédric Kahn has the self-assurance of someone who’s fully aware of his failures, but has to hold his head up high regardless.

After Love was produced by brothers Jacques-Henri and Olivier Bronckart for Versus Production, which has been with the Belgian director since Private Lessons [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Jacques-Henri Bronckart
interview: Joachim Lafosse
film profile
]
in 2008, and co-produced by Sylvie Pialat and Les Films du Worso in France, which also co-produced the last two films by Lafosse, Our Children [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Joachim Lafosse
film profile
]
and The White Knights [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Joachim Lafosse
film profile
]
. The film was supported by RTBF, VOO and BeTV, Wallimage, the Tax Shelter, and an advance on receipts from the CNC and Canal+. It will be distributed by O’Brother in the Benelux countries (where it will be released on 8 June), and Le Pacte will handle international sales and distribution in France.

(Translated from French)

See also

CNC conférence 6 decembre
 

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