Living On Love Alone

Living On Love Alone


Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Three friends in a Parisian nightclub are discussing a magazine survey about women's most important life aspirations. For one it is having the perfect house and job, for the second "it's a guy", and then they turn to the third. "Julie, what's your great dream?"

The truth is that Julie Bataille (Anaïs Demoustier) falls terribly short in most of these aspirations. She has gone dancing precisely to console herself for having just lost her job at a hip (but soul-destroying) PR agency. "I'm all alone, I'm 23, I'm broke," she will later complain, "I can't even afford a tiny flat with a shower." As for finding the right guy, the person to whom she addresses these confidences is a much older and very married man who will in effect pay her for bedding him. Not that she is complaining – she desperately needs the money. Despite her university degree, her bilingualism and her youth, life is just not working out for Julie the way she had imagined, as she finds herself seemingly doomed to a succession of humiliating jobs and ill-suited lovers.

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Then along comes Ben (Pio Marmaï), a charming young slacker with an entirely different outlook on life, and Julie finds herself half-heartedly accepting his invitation to join him down south for the Summer on the Spanish border. The simple life there seems to represent an idyllic alternative to the bustle of the city, but paradise comes at a price, and the young lovers' romance is about to collide head-on with reality.

If Isabelle Czajka's feature debut The Year After (2006) concerned a young woman (also played by Demoustier) trying to find her way in a heartless consumerist society, then her second feature builds on this theme, while envisaging a contrasting lifestyle that proves no less exploitative and dehumanising. After the satire and social criticism of the Parisian scenes, the film's action ultimately moves to a borderland between not just France and Spain, but also crime thriller and love story, dreams and reality, where Julie will come to realise that a life of carefree fecklessness spent outside of the rat race can have dire consequences of its own, and leave her just as trapped.

Reviewed on: 06 Oct 2010
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A relationship with a daring young actor offers a young woman escape from the tedium of her nine to five job.
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Director: Isabelle Czajka

Writer: Isabelle Czajka

Starring: Anaïs Demoustier, Pio Marmaï, Laurent Poitrenaux, Armonie Sanders

Year: 2010

Runtime: 89 minutes

Country: France


London 2010

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