Plaire, aimer et courir vite
Panorama | Spotlight on France
The setting is Paris, 1993, and the world is blue—or so it is in Christophe Honoré’s emotionally charged, richly textured May-December romance between Jacques (Pierre Deladonchamps), a middle-aged, HIV-positive Parisian writer of some renown, and 22-year-old Arthur (Vincent Lacoste), a handsome part-time student. A screening of Jane Campion’s The Piano provides the backdrop for their storybook meet-cute, but their relationship moves in fits and starts, with the contours of their respective lives remaining generously open all the while.
A pleasantly varied soundtrack (from Ride to Astrud Gilberto) scores the sensual, intimate proceedings: a gorgeously limned nighttime stroll; a smartly staged hotel-front flirtation; a playful, erotic phone call that collapses time and space. Although the film is less politically agitative than last year’s BPM, with which it shares its Parisian milieu, it remains canny about its omissions and wise about the realities of its queer characters’ hard-won existence. Melancholy but never maudlin, Honoré’s sorrowful, moving vision sees one generation—one romance—fade away to make room for another.
"Graceful, subtle, satisfying and emotionally complex, this is one of Christophe Honoré’s best films, with a standout performance from Vincent Lacoste."—Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound