A few months ago, I traveled with a couple of girlfriends to Richmond, Virginia, for the annual VCU French Film Festival. We planned our trip carefully, timing the visit to coincide with the “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National” exhibit and settling on one movie that we would see at the festival. This movie was The Names of Love (Le Nom des Gens in v.o.*), a film that had opened a year earlier at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and received enthousiastic reviews from critics accross the Atlantic. To make a long story short, the agenda was switched at the last minute and we ended up seeing a pretty forgettable movie with Sophie Marceau instead. *Le grrr.* I assumed I’d never get to see “Le Nom des Gens” since so few French films make their way to D.C. cinema screens. Luckily, I was wrong. The Names of Love is opening this Friday (August 19th) at Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema. The romantic comedy is actually quite a good fit for D.C. audiences. In essence, it’s about a carefree, young extroverted liberal girl who seduces right-wing men in order to convert them to her left-wing political causes. Until, of course, she falls in love… Sounds like something Washingtonians would find entertaining non?
Sara Forestier, the young actress who portrays the carefree main character, carries the film with energy. She won critical acclaim for her role and even took home a Cesar for Best Actress (a French Oscar). She also appears, in a smaller part, as French singer France Gall in Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life and if after seeing The Names of Love, you want to see a little bit more her, you’ll be able to when the Gainsbourg movies comes out at Westend Cinema on October 7th. But I digress… The Names of Love is more than its light and funny storyline, it’s a critical look at French society today, touching on immigration, racial and cultural identity, anti-semitism and the legacies of WWII and the Algerian conflict. If you think you might like to check it out, I’m actually giving away two tickets to catch it at Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema. Just write the name of your favourite French movie in the comment section and I will randomly select a winner on Friday. Bonne chance!
* v.o. = version originale