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2015 Alliance Francaise French Film Festival - 3 Hearts Film Review

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by Kat May (subscribe)
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You don't have to be arty or French to enjoy this festival
Alliance Francaise is an organisation that teaches the French language and promotes French culture. Like a cat to a saucer of milk, Australians are lapping up all things French at present. Parisienne scenes abound in home décor items, and by going to the movies, we can escape to the place of our desire. The film Paris, je t'aime, to be screened on closing night, has been declared as possibly the best film made depicting Paris, so do see it if you are in love with 'gay Paree'. One film that looks of interest to me after enjoying 'Fashion Icons at the SA Gallery of Art' this summer, is the story of fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurant. The film Saint Laurant was the French entrant Best Foreign Language Film at year's Academy Awards.



This film festival, now in its 26th year, has a popular following in Australia, and is held in almost all capital cities. Film goers are invited to make their choices now from the festival booklet available at Palace Nova Cinema or website. Organisers regard this year's program as the best festival yet. I really like the festival website. Here you will find handy categories from which to make your selections with film overviews. Some include; I Love You, Lest We Forget, and the aptly named Intense category. Films cater to all ages and genres: children, documentaries, suspense and thrillers, comedy, and of course love stories.



One of the highlighted films in the program is "3 Hearts". With this title I assumed this film would be a lovers tale, and indeed there was much love shared between the characters, but it is so much more. At times when I held my hand to my chest I would have said it was a suspense. At other times it felt like a drama. The musical score supports this film very well, with an unidentified instrument giving the warning of impending doom. It reminded me of the famous Jaws warning, an image of a long horn atop a Swiss mountain being echoed across the valley came to mind.

Marc, played by Benoit Poelvoorde, meets the sweet and innocent Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) late one night. At 47, Marc is still single and still chasing women, even at 2am. They lose contact and thus their unrequited and tormented love goes on for years. Tension arises after he meets and is about to marry Sophie (Chiara Mastroiami) who happens to be Sylvie's sister, a fact unbeknown to Marc. Can a man love two women at once? No good can ever come from three hearts intertwined. Something has got to give, and the inevitability of someone getting hurt is uppermost in the viewers mind.

But this film is so much more than a love triangle. This is a good performance from Poelvoorde as I found it one so very believable. We see the angst written in his face and feel the stress he is under. Who will he choose? The middle of the film seems somewhat drawn out, just as it is in real life, when agonising over which direction to take. The bedroom scenes are sliced to 3 seconds- I timed them all. It's not about the lust. Director Beouit Jacquiot in his 40 years of expertise wants us to focus on the anxiety, shown in close up angles of the faces and the tension of the plot.



There will be no awards for costume design here. We are not allowed the distraction of fine French fashion. The unkempt Sylvie wearing what seems to be the same clothes for four years with no makeup, represents her raw sensuality. This is all Marc sees, undeterred by what she looks like. All scenes are shot in times of Autumn when the winds of change blow through their lives, and we need to pull our coats closer around us in protection. There are many guises in this film representing emotions. You need to view French film as the art form it is, just as you would as if strolling through an art gallery.

Alliance France French Film Festival
The park in Paris which appears in the film. Image by tpsdave on Pixabay.com


I feel most Hollywood love stories that are deemed "chick flicks" are sugar coated and most unrealistic. Yet 3 Hearts is real life story and also one men will relate to. A man will understand what Marc is going through. And although a male viewer may not shed a tear as I did, he will understand the message told here, and empathise with his dilemma. This film would make for some good post film discussion between couples. My companion for the viewing was younger than I, yet we both enjoyed the film.

My tip is you need to look deep to find the real messages here.
I highly recommend this film. Give Mr Grey a miss this Autumn and treat yourself to some classy quality cinema at the Alliance France French Film Festival.
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*Kat May was invited as a guest
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Why? See a french film for something real and believable
When: Adelaide 5-24 Mar, Melbourne 4-22 Mar, Sydney 3-22 Mar, Canberra 6-25 Mar, Brisbane 13 Mar-1 Apr; Perth 19 Mar-7 Apr; Byron Bay 9-14 April, Hobart 16-21 Apr.
Where: Palce Nova Cinema, Rundle Street, Adelaide
Cost: See website, prices are higher for special event nights. Tickets can be purchased online or from cinema
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