Friday, September 10, 2010
It might be more common in Asian culture for people to communicate subtly without many words, contrary to more direct verbal expressions in Western cultures. French director Stéphane Brizé sets a counter example to this in her tender and observant "Mademoiselle Chambon" (France 2009 | in French | 101 min.) which beautifully explores people's desires and feelings.
Construction worker Jean (Vincent Lindon) is a loving father, husband, and son. After he meets his son's school teacher Véronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain), he takes a job to replace her apartment door, and falls for her after listens to her playing her violin. He struggles to choose between his desire for her and his normal happy married life.
Both Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain (who used to be married) gives flawless and subtle performance that conveys their characters' layered emotions vividly. And yes, most often, without a word. It is a marvelous pleasure to see an elegant performance in such a simple story.
Not only the film has few dialogues, it also has very little music in the background. However, when the music does come up, it is extremely effective and is brilliantly used as a crucial component in the story development.
With or without words and instruments, the two protagonists embrace their feelings with their hearts and play out a dramatic melody with great sensibilities. The makes a simple story extremely complex.