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Movie Review: A Faithful Man

For the French film A Faithful Man, I would choose one single word – elegance.

The elegance of French infidelity, the elegance of divorce, the elegance of the flirtation at the funeral, the elegance of the love triangle, the elegance of the fatal female tricks, the elegance of Parisian gray galvanized roofs and eclectic interiors, the illusion of not banal French humor between the lines, elegance of human relationships.

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The film has such a scene where a bit older woman understands that she will hardly win a war with a young competitor for the heart of a loved one. And then she comes up with unconventional move.

Wearing a crown for all situations – an astonishing smile –  she offers a bit of an obscene and rather risky turn of their relationship and even asks a man not to tell a competitor that it is her idea.

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“Why”, asked a bit surprised lover, a lazy, moderately intelligent, and such an eternally tired Parisian Louis Garrel. “Because then it will no longer be elegant,” says Laetitia Casta, a perfect Parisian tempter. L.Casta hero knows how to smile when it hurts and is not afraid to risk in love like in a war – to let go one who would be yours forever.

Psychologists and the guru of life are bombing us with tips on how to learn to speak, express feelings, grief, and release emotions. And this film says that in the couple,  it is better to keep some things for yourself rather than make quarrels for all trifles – that is a French skill to be blind and deaf in time.

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It is also about how important it is to be able to forgive and fold your ever-offended ego into a small rectangular napkin to not interfere with love, how important it is not to be righteous but to be happy, willing to be together.

If it were a Hollywood movie, Lily-Rose Depp would be a glued-up label as the persecutor and a comic melodrama would easily turn into a banal thriller, where justice always triumphs. But this is a French film – with all that French ease, without fig leaves on every obscene, inaccurate or a little hotter word or deed, without morals and didactic instruction who is right, and who is not, whose act is moral and whose not.

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In all good sense, I was surprised by the A Faithful Man – with its slowness, simplicity, and the work of the operator reminded me of good old French films. If you miss Paris, its interiors, its galvanized roofs, not banal relationships without unnecessary dramas, French love, and sex games secrets, the flirt in the air, and the feeling of charming silence, this film is just for you.

© Fortune, 2009

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