Diary of a Fleeting Affair (Chronique d’une Liaison Passagère)
Emmanuel Mouret’s Diary of A Fleeting Affair is uncannily reminiscent of a classic Woody Allan romcoms like Annie Hall or Manhattan: a neurotic and socially awkward man meets and falls in love with an intelligent woman. In this case, the proverbial Alvy singer is Simon (Vinent Macaigne) and his Annie Hall is Charlotte (Sandrine Kiberlain). They’re the quintessential romantic French protagonists: well educated, sporting snazzy blazers and sharing a love for passion. However, the catch is that Simon is married, and Charlotte is a single mother. After meeting at a party, the pair spark an immediate and passionate sexual affair. And while they both know this relationship will never last or be anything more than a fling, they are nevertheless always drawn back towards each other’s company.
Presented in the very Woody Allan fashion of elegant long shots backed by playful instrumental music, Mouret’s film moves forward at a bounding speed. It plays out like a scrapbook of the pair’s various meetings over a period of several months, with each sequence acting as its own vignette. Each of these plays out mostly in the same way, in that the leads will engage in some humorous dialogue before their escapades lead back to the bedroom. The onscreen chemistry of Macaigne and Kiberlain is a delight. Each actor works brilliantly off the other, creating genuinely funny and charming moments. Despite the leads’ rapport, however, the humour is often hit-and-miss, with most moments coming across a little too childish for the tone the production is going for.
Unlike a Woody Allen film, though, A Fleeting Affair is lacking when it comes to its substance. Whereas Alvy singer lamented over his lost love and explored the ins-and-outs of his failings in love, Simon simply goes along for the ride. The cycle of the pair getting back together is endless, and while this could be taken as a statement about the inescapability of love, the shallow nature renders this affair a rather frivolous one.
Diary of a Fleeting Affair (Chronique d’une Liaison Passagère) does not have a UK release date yet.
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