an aerial and flighty initiatory story


The loves of Anaïs are without consequences. They arise, spin, last for the time of lightness and when Anaïs passes away. Ready for new encounters, available for other arms who, perhaps, will finally make her feel important. She is 30 years old, lives, walks, speaks quickly and without interrupting. Airy and fickle, like the camera chasing her, following her in long sequence shots. Skipping like the piano notes of the soundtrack.

Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s first feature film looks like a musical comedy. And if Anaïs Demoustier, perfect interpreter of the character, does not dance, it is just like. Crossing Paris, on foot or by bike, without seeming to touch the ground. She is the heroine of a film to which she dictates her rhythm, inspires her music. The Allegro will soon go into moderato mode. By the grace of an outburst of love at the end of which the eternal adolescent will have learned to grow up.

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Initiatory story of joyful mood, The Loves of Anaïs leads its course in the wealthy and literary Parisian universe of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, where the young girl, enrolled at the Sorbonne, is preparing a thesis on writing passion in the 17th centurye century. The director knows this environment well, having evolved there, first as a student and then employed in a publishing house. She restores the hedonistic and worldly spirit with the irony that befits fine minds freed from any worry of money. Anaïs doesn’t have a penny, but she is part of the circle and tastes her pleasures.

Daniel (Denis Podalydès) and Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier) in “Les Amours d'Anaïs”, by Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet.

Thus she meets, during a party, Daniel (Denis Podalydès), an editor, married for twelve years, and little inclined to adultery but in whose bed she ends the night. The adventure, however, is cut short. The husband having hardly created trouble in the impatient young girl, unlike his wife, Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), whom Anaïs discovers first through a portrait hanging in their apartment, then at random from ‘a street. The heart races and sees, in this chance encounter, a sign of fate. Emilie is a writer, and has to travel to Brittany for a few days to participate in literary meetings. Listening only to her desire, Anaïs also goes there.

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Feelings game

In this new setting (a castle in a countryside by the sea), the film, without losing its lightness, slows down the movement, finds a new tone, luminous and trembling. Just like the places and the encounter that takes place there. The two women attract each other, one displays it, the other barely denies it. Each in their own way, surrendering to the disturbing game of loving approach. Which one is in The Loves of Anaïs, more serious than it seems. Because the rise of desire is a serious matter, even if we try to distract ourselves from it. To understand, it suffices to observe the ballet of bodies, the texture of the skin revealed in close-up, the dialogue of looks and smiles. Anaïs’ impetuosity, and the whirlwind into which she had led the film, gradually gives way to the suspended time of waiting.

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