Gay Essential Films To Watch, Love Songs (Les Chansons d’amour)

Love Songs (Chansons DAmour) follows a tangled web of characters, starting with Ismaël (Louis Garrel), Alice, and Julie, a trio involved romantically and who live together. Julie is at the movie theatre and wants Ismaël to join, but he says he has to stay at work, lying that he is alone, when in fact Alice is with him. It soon becomes clear that although Ismaël and Julie are primarily devoted to each other, and Alice is merely a coagulant for their relationship, something has gone awry, and all is not well at home. Suddenly, at home, Julie goes unconscious and dies.

As Ismaël becomes more withdrawn, the younger brother of Alice’s friend, Erawan, becomes deeply interested in him, and starts to cross the line by following him secretly at times. As Ismaël becomes more and more despondent, resorting to one-night stands to clear his mind, Erawan attempts to pursue him even more, ignoring Ismaël’s rebuffs. Finally Ismaël breaks down and accepts Erawan’s affections, and the two spend an intimate night together in Ismaël’s apartment. A friend, Jeanne, finds them together in bed the next morning, and claims that she knows now why Ismaël had previously been in a threesome with Julie and Alice, and why he didn’t want to have kids, inciting an argument.

Finally, Ismaël visits Julie’s grave in a night of desperate drunkenness, and Alice leads him back to Erawan’s apartment, where he asks Erawan to love him a little less, but for a long time.

Les Chansons D’amour

Critics

“An attractive and talented young cast brings this graceful film alive in all its tenderness and emotion.”
Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

“The girl-boy-girl threesome, which turns out to be short-lived, is perhaps the most straightforward emotional configuration in this odd, witty, touching film. ”
   A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“You could describe Love Songs (Chansons DAmour), as a blend of François Truffaut’s wistful Parisian sentimentalism and Pedro Almodóvar’s acrid polysexual comedy.”
   Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

Did you Know?

Unlike many musicals, Love Songs (Chansons DAmour) has no choreographed dance scenes, which director Christophe Honoré claims was due primarily to budget restraints, although he also feels that the lack of dance helped to make the film more personal and intimate. He also cites Godard’s Une Femme Est Une Femme as a major influence on this film, which was even shot in the same neighbourhood as Love Songs. Review our Gay Themed Films Here

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Alexander Ryll
Launched in June 2014, Gay Essential is the world’s largest gay themed film blog promoting new and rare features. I am helped by some amazing writers and we also cover film festivals in the UK and USA. We are 100% independent, without advertising or funding by film distributors. Help to keep Gay Essential independent by purchasing our merchandise GET (Gay Essential Tees)
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Alexander Ryll
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