It made its world premiere at the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, earlier this year, and, unfortunately, S&A wasn’t present at the festival, so none of us has seen the film, and thus no review yet. But soon…
It’s set to open in France next month – November 26 – and ahead of that opening, the film’s French distribution company has released a first full trailer for it, which sadly isn’t subtitled in English, but it at least gives you some sense of what the filmmaker has done this time around. Plus you can learn enough from the images and ambiance of each scene alone.
It’s Djinn’s follow-up to his first film, "Donoma," which was reportedly made for a few hundred dollars; We saw it, and we were enthralled by it! It screened at Cannes 2 years ago, also as part of a sidebar program. He impressed critics and audiences with it, around the world, including here in the USA, and I have expected his second feature, "Faire L’Amour," would do the same, starting with its Cannes 2014 premiere.
Well, thus far, from the handful of reviews that I read after it premiered at Cannes, most appreciated what the film has to offer; starting with The Hollywood Reporter: "French self-taught director Djinn Carrenard impressively avoids the sophomore slump with FLA, his long-awaited follow-up to his much-lauded first feature, Donoma. Made with money from several official sources, though — somewhat amazingly — without much of a professional crew, this love story involving a deaf rapper, his pregnant girlfriend and the latter’s jailbird sister, should have a good shot at penetrating French arthouses and could even score some theatrical action offshore despite a nearly three-hour running time. As in Donoma, the film’s unifying theme is how the characters deal with different forms of love and the again, the acting is naturalistic, with the three protagonists charismatic and believable. Like [Abdellatif] Kechiche’s work, the results are both life-like and appropriately exhausting."
The review is referring to Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche’s critically-acclaimed lengthy drama/romance "Blue Is the Warmest Color," which won the Palme d’Or (the festival’s highest honor) at the Cannes Film Festival last year. It clocked in at just about 3 hours.
Next, Variety: "An insightful film about the challenges of love and connection that could stand to be far shorter and less shouty. Centering on a Parisian rapper who has to deal with sudden deafness and a woman who’s on temporary leave from prison to see her son, “Faire: L’amour” (abbreviated as “FLA”) buries a poignant, confrontational exploration of loneliness and self-absorption in so many screaming matches and showy film techniques that it becomes a rambling shout-a-thon. As with his 2010 debut, “Donoma,” Haiti-born French helmer Djinn Carrenard (who co-directed and co-produced with Salome Blechmans) expertly elucidates his characters’ clumsy efforts to love and connect, but a drastic reduction of the film’s 148-minute running time could sharpen its dramatic focus and help it break out beyond Eurocentric arthouse niches."
And finally from Screen Daily: "Faire: L’amour (or FLA) delivers an almost forensic exploration of the flaws and failings in a trio of characters desperately seeking an elusive happiness. Told in a style that echoes past masters of the nouvelle vague from Jacques Rivette to Agnes Varda, it offers a grueling but compelling emotional work-out on a par with a session of John Cassavetes improvisation or an Edward Albee play. Perhaps it never quite justifies its running time in the way that Blue Is The Warmest Colour did but there is enough raw emotion and filmmaking virtuosity to command your attention and confirm the promise of Carrenard’s award-winning debut feature Donoma (2011). The marathon running time and sometimes unsympathetic characters will limit the film’s commercial appeal but it should attract healthy Festival interest and support from Francophile audiences and those with a track record of supporting audacious rising talents."
Another Kechiche comparison is certainly telling. It gives audiences who’ve seen "Blue" some idea of what to expect in "FLA." Also universal here are criticisms of the film’s length; although apparently the raw, realistic and thorough emotional performances help counter.
The film, budgeted at €2.7 million, or about $3.5 million, is a considerable jump (from a few hundred dollars for his first film, to a few million for his second). I’m curious to see how that affects the end product.
Carrénard actually wrote "Faire L’Amour" before he made "Donoma" – with both films seemingly exploring similar themes revolving around the dynamics of several, interconnected Paris couples. And also like "Donoma," "Faire L’Amour’s" cast comprises of mostly amateur, first-time actors, which Carrénard selected from acting workshops he conducted earlier 3 years ago.
The film was actually grindingly shot in stops-and-starts throughout 2012.
Here’s the new trailer (poster underneath). No USA distributor yet – like his last film: