August 19, 2010
If “Mademoiselle” were a book, it would be comprised primarily of internal dialogues because the characters don’t say much to each other. In its subject manner and style, it resembles a movie I talked about in post a couple of weeks ago called, “I Am Love.”
Jean is a married construction worker who makes talking to a class of children look sexy. Veronique is an unmarried upper-crust substitute teacher who has taken over his son’s class for the year. For reasons that are never explained, she moves from place to place. The two of them are drawn together when she asks him to speak to her students about his occupation. They strike up a romance that taps into their discontent with their lives.
During the course of the film, Jean discovers his wife is pregnant. That makes his intense attraction to Veronique all the more impossible. She plans to go to Paris at the end of the school year. He wants to go with her, but of course he can’t leave his family, including an elderly father to whom he’s very devoted.
Jean, who is uneducated—he can’t tell his son what a direct object is—, is stirred by the fact that Veronique is an accomplished violinist. He invites her to his father’s birthday party to play. It’s an affair bursting with life and affection. Afterwards, she remarks upon the love between father and son and tells him that she and her family aren’t close. That’s about as much about her background as we know.
At the movies, you’re literally further away, even though you’re sitting in a darkened theater with a huge screen, sometimes almost touching noses with the characters. You’re a watcher, not a doer.
So what you find out about the people up there is usually dependent upon how well the actors let you see what’s going on, which Vincent Lindon as Jean and Sandrine Kiberlain as Veronique do wonderfully well. It’s a magic trick I don’t understand
Here are links to a review and a trailer.