Director Christophe Honoré pays homage to French cinema of the 1960s with LOVE SONGS (LES CHANSONS D'AMOUR). Though it borrows its structure from Jacques Demy's classic THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, this modern musical paints its sad story in much darker colors than its predecessor. LOVE SONGS begins with Parisian lovers Ismaël (Louis Garrel, THE DREAMERS) and Julie (Ludivine Sagnier, SWIMMING POOL) adding a third person to their relationship to add spice to their dying romance. Alice (Clotilde Hesme, REGULAR LOVERS) works with Ismaël in his job at a newspaper, and she shows instant chemistry with both partners. But tragedy soon divides the lovers, and Ismaël is left to cope in the best way he can: through love.^While LOVE SONGS echoes the three-act format of THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG--"the departure," "the absence," and "the return"--Honoré's film is a much bleaker, more realistic offering. The candy colors of Cherbourg are gone, replaced by a dreary looking Paris, where it constantly rains and the characters are forever lacking umbrellas. Even though Garrel, Saigner, Hesme, and the rest of the cast burst into song, the film has far more in common with Honoré's other dramas than with typical musicals. In his third collaboration with the director after DANS PARIS and MA MERE, Garrel is a fascinating physical and emotional presence. He ably leaps between Ismaël's sadness and the lightness of physical comedy. Fans of French cinema may recognize costar Chiara Mastroianni, who is the daughter of legend Catherine Deneuve, the luminous star of THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG.
"[A] musical by stealth....The actors quietly begin singing, with complete sincerity and without undue concern for vocal technique, when they find themselves unable to express their emotions." 03/01/2008 p.73
New York Times
"The melodies are charming....It takes some nerve nowadays to conceive a musical that is both realistic and earnest....LOVE SONGS is a worthy and intriguing experiment..." 03/21/2008
"[The filmmakers] update the spirit of Jacques Demy's THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG for a new youthquake generation." 03/28/2008 p.51
Los Angeles Times
"So well integrated are the songs, which enrich the story and its characters immeasurably, that dialogue flows into them with an easy naturalness. An attractive and talented young cast brings this graceful film alive in all its tenderness and emotion." 04/04/2008