La Belle Personne (2008)

January 6th, 2012
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director Christophe Honore

Starring Lea Seydoux, Louis Garel, Le-Prince Ringuet

French/subtitles 90 mins 12

Christophe Honore takes a seventh century novel “La Princesse de Cleves” and fast forwards it to the 21st century lycee as beautiful young things enjoy romantic encounters jumping in and out of bed with each other and that’s just the boys in this surprisingly fun French romp.

When these students are not exchanging amorous glances in the Italian class they are kissing during break or chatting up a teacher who looks like he’s walked out of the pages of French Vogue.  Mr Nemours is only a few years older than his new pupil Junie (Lea Seydoux) and he can’t keep his hands off her.  She smoulders and sulks but eventually goes for kind-hearted Otto (Le-Prince Ringuet) who she thinks will ultimately make a better long-term boyfriend. Nemours is trying to ditch his long-term girlfriend and flirting with a fellow teacher.

The realistic nature of this film draws us into the action and soon we’re accomplices in an illicit game: eavesdropping on conversations, hanging about in doorways, scanning facial expressions and eye contact between the loved-up and their rivals and getting quite intimate with all concerned.

Honore creates a powerful and palpable sexual tension with Junie finds herself unable to resist the tousled insouciance of Louis Garel’s Nemours. It gradually prepares us for a shocking and inevitable climax and it’s great fun to watch.

Meredith Taylor©

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