On Connait La Chanson review

Alan Resnais, veteran director of such ground-breaking arthousers as Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Last Year At Marienbad, returns with a gloriously playful homage to the late Dennis Potter. On Connaît La Chanson ("the same old song") sports a daisy-chain narrative which interconnects a number of prevaricating Parisians.

The middle-aged Simon (Dussollier) is infatuated with Camille (Jaoui), a historical researcher who's actually in love with Simon's estate agent boss, the suave Marc (Wilson). Meanwhile, Marc is trying to sell an apartment to Odile (Azéma), who's Camille's older sister. But her ex-boyfriend Nicholas (Bacri) has recently appeared in the capital, and he's also looking for an flat.

The twist is that each of these characters is prone to suddenly lip-synching along to snippets of popular French songs. (Hence such oddball lines as "'Love's like a pop song that slips through your fingers'.") On Connaît La Chanson is deftly-structured, impeccably acted and laced with wry humour. It's about coincidences, misunderstandings and the masks we all have to wear in our everyday lives. In the past, Resnais has been accused of showing a lack of compassion towards his creations. But not here.


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