Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

"Une Autre Vie marks a distinct change of register."

French director Emmanuel Mouret writes, directs and frequently acts in his films, among them Change Of Address and The Art Of Love, gaining a reputation for witty dialogue and burlesque situations.

He has often been described as a cross between Eric Rohmer and Woody Allen, with a little Ernst Lubitsch thrown in for good measure. He has been adept at playing variations on the machinations of romantic encounters by exploring his favourite topics: desire, adultery and moral dilemma.

The tone until now has been light-weight, whereas Une Autre Vie marks a distinct change of register although affairs of the heart remain a fascination. If comparisons have to be made Douglas Sirk could be a point of reference.

Instead of froth cue in high drama involving an eternal triangle of a talented young pianist (Jasmine Trinca), a jealous shoe shop assistant (Virginie Ledoyen) and her long-term partner, an electrician (played by French rapper turned actor Joey Starr).

It has the hallmarks of an old-fashioned weepy when the pianist collapses one night on stage caused by the culmination of family issues and a gruelling concert schedule.

She feels that her career is over and she has nothing more to offer. Instead she retreats to a family house by the sea in the South of France - and given the breathtaking scenery and luxurious surroundings and the redoubtable Ariane Ascaride as a housekeeper this cannot be too much of a hardship. Her chance encounter with Starr’s electrician who comes to install a security system, rekindles her zest for life and work and, despite their differences, they start to plan a future together. His partner, however, has other devious ideas to thwart the budding relationship.

Mouret, who extracts his usual full house of fine performances, structures the film in a similar style to his romantic comedies with time jumps and flashbacks, revealing just enough of the narrative to nudge an audience along each twist and turn.

Reviewed on: 11 Aug 2013
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An exhausted women tries to rebuild her life but finds obstacles intentionally placed in the way of her happiness.

Director: Emmanuel Mouret

Writer: Emmanuel Mouret

Starring: Joey Starr, Virginie Ledoyen, Jasmine Trinca

Year: 2013

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: France

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