Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A LA FOLIE...PAS DU TOUT (He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not)


Here is a fascinating confection of a film, cotton candy laced with arsenic. A La Folie...Pas Du Tout (or it's Engish title of He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not) starts out as another glossy romantic adventure of Audrey Tautou in full Amélie Poulain mode, only a tad tackier. However, with a puzzle-box plot and some unusual narrative techniques, it ends up venturing down corridors not often explored in a bubbly romance.

Angélique (Taotou) loves Loïc (the superb Samuel Le Bihan who was also the lead in Les Pacte des Loups) enough that she can never quite stop from smiling, and this infectious charm rubs off on everyone around her. She can convince easily a florist to go against delivery policy with only a smile and have a single rose delivered because of true love. But Loïc is a married man, and is having trouble leaving his wife. That is OK, because Angélique is a patient woman, secure in her love for her man. They will meet in private, go to Florence for a surreptitious vacation until he works up the courage to dump his wife, or his wife finds out about their relationship. Letters and gifts abound while Angélique house-sits for the summer and pursues an Art scholarship. Things get bad when Loïc's wife gets pregnant to further bind Loïc to his matrimonial vows. What's a girl to do?

A La Folie...Pas Du Tout is a hard film to talk about without veering into spoiler territory. The facile summary would be to label it as the combined DNA of Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, He Said, She Said and Fatal Attraction. I've seen the concept of showing the same film twice from two different perspectives a couple times (He Said, She Said, Sliding Doors, Lola Rennt and a humorous episode of the X-Files guest starring Luke Wilson) but I can't say that I've seen this somewhat gimmicky technique used more effectively than by 27 year old director (at the time) Laetitia Colombani. Playing with truth and audience exepectation takes a delicate hand, and admittedly, some of the cinematic hocus-pocus is a bit flawed and the occasional plot hole rears up. But the film has a truck load of ambition and in any sort of wistful romantic film, that is worth quite a bit. A La Folie...Pas Du Tout mines the dark side of love, passion, and frankly, delusion, in an entertaining, delicately crafted and stylish package that is probably best not to take a 'first date' to (unless used in a sort of Seinfeld-esque test scenario).

Sony Pictures had a fabulous sense of humour releasing this film on Valentine's Day in 2003 and so close to the popular success of Jean Pierre Jeunet's film. Even taken away of that particular bit of meta-trickery the film is a solidly enjoyable viewing that would make a fascinating double bill with Yann Samuell's Jeux d'Enfants, which in hindsight, owes a lot to A La Folie...Pas Du Tout.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love, delusion... same thing right??
the Wife

4:07 PM  

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