Review: Along Came Love
- CANNES 2023: Katell Quillévéré revives the melodrama tradition with a story spanning several decades in the post-war period, looking to understand how love can overcome shame and lies
"I don’t have the right to be happy, I can feel it". A heroine burdened with an onerous past is catapulted by fate onto a beach, in the direction of a man whose inner torment is equally acute. Theirs is a relationship which takes shape under the eyes of a young child, a unique shared existence which begins at the end of the ‘40s, adapting to the events of the following decades. This is the story of Katell Quillévéré’s Along Came Love [+see also:
interview: Katell Quillévéré
film profile], unveiled in the Cannes Première line-up at the Cannes Film Festival, where the intense, novelistic and romantic French filmmaker previously presented Love Like Poison [+see also:
film profile] and Suzanne [+see also:
interview: Katell Quillévéré
A couple of characters fleetingly convened in the film are Kairos and Chronos, two of the three Greek facets of time who respectively evoke "opportunity, which you have to know how to seize", and the present. Madeleine (Anaïs Demoustier) and François (Vincent Lacoste) don’t let the opportunity to love pass them by, when they meet by chance by the sea. But they don’t seem to have anything in common, especially when it comes to their social backgrounds. Madeleine is a waitress, while François - a reject from a rich industrial family from the North – is writing an archaeology thesis in Paris. But both are concealing a shameful secret from which Madeleine is quick to free herself: her five-year-old son Daniel is the product of a fleeting affair in 1944 with a German officer who subsequently left for the Eastern front; her head was shorn following the Liberation and she was disowned by her family. As for François, it takes a little longer to uncover his truth.
The two of them are nevertheless married and Daniel is officially adopted by François. But the child senses a mystery hovering over his nameless biological father whom people assure him is dead, doubts which gnaw away at him until he’s 18 years of age. Madeleine and François, meanwhile, find their lives bouncing back, managing a dance hall in the ‘50s in Chateauroux (populated by soldiers from an American base) and enjoying a more middle-class lifestyle in Paris in the early ‘60s. Time goes by, love evolves and a little girl is added to the family, but deep down their balance is fragile...
Shot with a camera on the shoulder and amidst natural decor, the film takes a highly sensitive, controlled approach to offer up a modernised, nigh-on naturalistic variation on the classic melodramatic films. Paying equal attention to each of her (brilliantly acted) protagonists, Katell Quillévéré crafts a skilful work of a kind we don’t often see, spanning three time periods (preceded by a prologue of archive material and followed by an epilogue in the comforting tradition of the best films of this kind). A tale where happiness walks a tightrope above abysses, driven by a desire like that expressed by Stefan Zweig in Amok: "It’s only through passion that you’ll get to know the world around you! Because where secrets abound, life begins too."
Along Came Love is produced by Les Films du Bélier and Les Films Pelléas, in co-production with France 2 Cinéma, Gaumont and Pictanovo, alongside Belgium’s Frakas Productions, RTBF, VOO, Be TV and Beside Productions. International sales are entrusted to Charades.
(Translated from French)
Photogallery 21/05/2023: Cannes 2023 - Along Came Love
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