I am in Love with French films.
Even French films which don’t make the earth move.
They are un-like other films. They do not have to be something bold, or in your face. They are not hard or cutting edge, forced or ‘over filmed’, fake or sharply scripted.
There is something quite beautiful, subtle, simple and yet complex about French films. They are not afraid of the silences. They are not afraid to be script-less for several minutes at a time whilst the scene unfolds and evokes our response to the actors in their sublime word-less-ness. They have an emotional intensity which personally ticks all of my boxes. They are perfectionists at reducing that intensity, to capture a concentrated or even a diffused nonchalant mood, whilst still understanding emotional breadth and depth.
As well as the silence which is actually quite ‘un-silent’, French films also have a dialogue. We have to listen with our soul, and not only listen, but hear. We have to relax in to the intimacy of the conversations, even in their hushed quietness, in order to have an understanding of what makes the scene unfold in the way which it does. French films have a dialogue which at times is slow and commands our patience and our empathy in order to relate to the complex depths of the characters. We have to watch their body language, feel, experience, understand and interpret.
They make no apology for natural beautiful naked togetherness. They do not forge their love scenes to be sexually potent, over evocative and explicitly sexual. From their simpleness and naturalness comes a beauty full of humanity. Love scenes which are far more fulfilling, which actually are about the emotional depth of the characters and their complex reactions in response to their lives, in relationship to their humanity. The characters have layers and textures and truths.
To kiss in a French film is like no other kiss I have ever seen in any other film. It is shy and tentative and tender and gentle and true and real, and then yet passionate and deep. The braille of the soul in perfect extension, a deeply interior emotion in its absolute final expression – unrestrained.
French films have an intelligence which other films do not possess. They have a realism which other films lack, which actually makes them incredibly sensuous and believable. The language has a poetic strand that captures. In Goodbye, First Love the appreciation of architecture is a metaphor for the development from innocence to maturity. In French films they may converse about the weather and make it a contemplation on the beautiful, the calm or the extreme, or discuss the water and make it interesting, seductive, enriching and life-bringing.
French films draw us in, they have a sophisticated intimacy which can only be felt or experienced, though not explained. They leave you perplexed and content at the same time and render the layer beneath your skin alight with a longing for the next release.
. . . And they use the best of British music.