love and lies |

content / criticism

Max Meyer (Vincent Cassel) been to New York. Now he’s back in Paris, where an even bigger change awaits him: he will become Muriel (Sandrine Kiberlain) marry his boss’s daughter. At least that was the plan. On the other hand, things don’t go according to plan at all when he says the voice of his former girlfriend Lisa (Monica Bellucci) who disappeared from his life a few years ago and for whom he still has feelings. And so he decides without further ado to cancel a planned business trip and to go in search of Lisa instead. To his amazement, he meets a completely different Lisa (Romane Bohringer), who lives in the apartment of his exes …

The tortuous path of love

Most love films are known to be quite simple. In the beginning, the two main characters cross paths. For some reason, the relationship doesn’t work out yet – logically, otherwise you wouldn’t have anything to tell. Numerous obstacles later that have to be cleared out of the way, the two finally hug each other and can look forward to a future together. Sometimes overcoming the obstacles is associated with comical scenes, perhaps even embarrassing mishaps. Others prefer the fight for love as a drama that can and should get really serious. In principle, it’s pretty much the same. The film proves that there is another way love and lieswhich on the one hand follows this well-known path and yet makes something completely different out of it.

First of all, the concepts of beginning and end are challenged here when one is indistinguishable from the other. The story begins in the present, when Max is about to get married and is struggling with which ring to buy. But a short time later, the past breaks in, spreading through him in the form of memories and a longing for a love that came to an early end. In love and liesalternatively as lies of love known, these two time levels are becoming increasingly blurred. Max’s need to bring back the past leads to the fact that it repeatedly pushes itself in between, until at some point one can no longer say exactly what is yesterday and what is today.

A love drama in a mystery thriller costume

Sure, flashbacks are a tool that is often used in films to tell a story or to describe a character. love and lies goes well beyond what one is used to in this direction. Where others usually use these flashbacks to explain or clarify things, here the confusion grows by the minute. In fact, the only film by director and screenwriter to date is reminiscent Gilles Mimouni to the great confusion of film history, such as from Hitchcock. As in the well-known mystery thrillers, the Frenchman wants to lure the viewer down the wrong path, provoke questions and repeatedly throw in information along the way that suddenly makes what has been seen appear questionable again.

Only that love and lies is not a mystery thriller. There is no crime here that is the focus and must be solved little by little. Instead, the film is primarily a love drama about people who are unsure of their feelings or are struggling with unrequited feelings. The special thing about the work is how a love drama appropriates genre elements and turns the subject into a big puzzle. This can be frustrating for an audience that thinks they are in a criminal case and is waiting all the time for something to happen. On the other hand, if you’re hoping for a “real” love story, you’ll be bothered by the numerous and increasingly absurd twists and turns.

A matter of perspective

And yet the film is worth seeing when it breaks down boundaries again and again, when you can’t be sure about a lot. This is also due to Max’s perspective, who is always the center of attention, especially at the beginning, and only allows a limited view of the story: he always sees only part of the whole, the audience with him. French superstar Vincent Cassel (Dobermann, My one, my everything) mimics a man who is both the driving force and yet also driven by the women and his feelings. That’s exciting, especially since you really can’t predict what exactly will happen or has happened. You can tremble until the end without knowing what and why. After all, nothing here is what it seems – or maybe it is?


OT: „The apartment“
AT: “Lies of Love”
Land: France, Spain, Italy
Year: 1996
Director: Gilles Mimouni
Script: Gilles Mimouni
Music: Peter Chase
Camera: Thierry Arbogast
Occupation: Vincent Cassel, Romane Bohringer, Sandrine Kiberlain, Monica Bellucci, Jean-Philippe Ecoffey, Olivier Granier

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