Give your Boyfriends and Girlfriends this Valentines Day Treat

Boyfriends and Girlfriends

BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS (1987)

Directed by: Eric Rohmer

Starring: Emmanuelle Chaulet, Sophie Renoir, Eric Viellard, Francois-Eric Gendron

Where: Busan Cinemateque

When: February 14 at 19:30, February 19 at 17:20, February 24 at 15:20, February 28 at 13:00

In “Boyfriends and Girlfriends,” Eric Rohmer puts into play the moral dilemma that arises when someone falls for their best friend’s significant other. The more appropriate French title “L’Ami de mon Amie” directly translates to “the friend of my friend,” a playful twist on the age-old proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Blanche (Emmanuelle Chaulet), a single working woman, immediately hits it off with Lea (Sophie Renoir), a university student, after they sit together at the local cafeteria for lunch. Her new friend introduces her to the neighborhood stud, Alexandre (Francois-Eric Gendron), in an attempt to help her find a man. However, the love-clumsy protagonist quickly blows her chances and instead sets her sights on Lea’s beau, Fabien (Eric Viellard).

There’s no denying that Rohmer has a knack for writing tightly scripted stories. This delightful romantic comedy is focused and straight-to-the-point, without a moment’s worth of filler taking up its 102 minutes of running time.  The four main characters share practically all of the lines, most of which are said during casual chats around a cup of coffee at the sidewalk cafe or in the rhythm of their daily lives. In consequence, it’s easy to get to know and understand them.

Another element that helps situate these bright young things is the recurrent setting. The film was shot almost entirely on location in the yuppie enclave of Cergy-Pontoise just outside of Paris. Its modern architecture and sense of containment make for a distinct choice of place. Within the first thirty minutes, the audience is already familiar with the town’s community atmosphere and soon afterward feels a part of it.

“Boyfriends and Girlfriends” represents a welcome departure from Rohmer’s brainier work, though it’s comparably small in scope. The film is simultaneously entertaining, relatable, and just thought-provoking enough that it won’t make your head spin. Bring a date, or better yet, your best friend – you might strike up an interesting conversation once the credits start rolling.

Rating: 71/100

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