Prolific French writer/director Christophe Honoré wastes no time following up Dans Paris with this marvellous musical, where characters vent their emotions by nonchalantly erupting into song. Chopped into three chapters, the story’s main focus is the ménage à trois between twentysomethings Ismaël (Honoré regular Louis Garrel), Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) and Alice (Clotilde Hesme). When tragedy strikes one of the trio out of the blue, lovers and family members grapple with their grief in a diversity of ways. Set in a wintry, bustling inner-city Paris, Les Chansons d’Amour is partly a homage to Honore’s New Wave forefathers. However, the film transcends that devotion to become an affecting, vibrantly-acted work in its own right. More importantly, it easily eludes the pitfalls of kitsch or snarky irony. Lovely.
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