Mademoiselle Chambon (2010)
Two adults struggle to avoid letting their erotic passion for one another guide them into infidelity in this subtly erotic, understated chamber drama from France. Vincent Lindon stars as Jean, a burly blue-collar mason who lives semi-contentedly with his wife, Anne-Marie (Aure Atika), and son, Jérémy (Arthur Le Houérou), in some unspecified provincial French town. Little passion exists in Jean's life -- until his path crisscrosses with that of Véronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain), his son's violin teacher. Completely taken with the woman's cultural sophistication (manifested through her love of classical music) and intellectualism, Jean begins contemplating an affair with this virtual stranger, and offers to repair one of her windows as an excuse to be more proximate to her. Ultimately, suspense begins to build as the question lingers of whether the two will give in to their desires. Stéphane Brizé directed and authored the script, an adaptation of Eric Holder's novel. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Mademoiselle Chambon
A heartbreaking, ambiguous twist on 'Brief Encounter', railway station finale and all. Take hankies.
A charmingly direct film of simple contrasts about the difficulty of change.
One way to think of Mademoiselle Chambon (a chambon is a piece of a horse's halter) is as Brief Encounter as reimagined by Eric Rohmer.
Mademoiselle Chambon is moving in spots, but it doesn't stir you the way the best films about heartache do. You feel for these two star-crossed lovers, then forget about them the moment the movie is over.
Mademoiselle Chambon is about love in midlife, about two souls meeting, and how that can be the most beautiful thing in the world but also the most inconvenient.
Brizé does score a nifty variation on the clichéd rushing-to-meet-destiny climax. But this encounter, brief indeed at a mere 90 minutes, doesn't fully convince.
Mademoiselle Chambon may be a small film about inconsequential people, but the situations and emotions it stirs up are universally profound
By paring everything right down, director Stéphane Brizé elegantly proves that less really is more.
It's a touching, measured, well-observed film that uses music (the teacher is a trained violinist) skilfully.
Understated, powerfully emotional drama that plays like an updated French version of Brief Encounter, thanks to a superb script and terrific performances from Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kilberlain.
An impossible romance that is expressed delicately and without recourse to more than mild erotica.
Slow your pace and pause for breath and there's a world of pleasure to be had from this unhurried small-town tragedy.
Too much of Stéphane Brizé's film is elegant water-treading, but there are candid little scenes, and one of those will-they-won't-they, Brief Encounter denouements that never go out of fashion.
It hauls its bucket up slowly. We're not sure till the end, or even then, if there is much water in it.
A familiar tale lent richness by note-perfect turns and stealthy storytelling.
The main characters' desires are so deeply submerged, hidden not only from each other than from themselves, that it's a shock when even the tiniest, most tentative endearment is expressed.
Much of the time the audience is left staring as intently as the characters, trying to figure out what these people are thinking, and why we should care.
Stephane Brizi's "Mademoiselle Chambon" is a remarkably moving effort, thanks to two superbly down-to-earth performances.
The most powerful of emotions are indicated not by dialogue, but with the smallest of gestures and changes in expression.
Director Stéphane Brizé fills the drama with pregnant silences and the two actors make the most of them. But it may not be for everyone.
Audience Reviews for Mademoiselle Chambon
A carpenter resists having an affair with his son's schoolteacher.
Mademoiselle Chambon features strong performances by Sandrine Kiberlain and Vincent Lindon as the two lead characters. Their characters are built on silence and subtle looks that make them fun to watch.
The film's plot is meandering, taking far too long to get from point A to point B with few complications in between. It's slow, but it's slow in a way that I've grown accustomed to in modern French cinema.
What is more, I'm not sure what the film is saying. Is it merely privileging a content marriage with a passionate affair? If so, such an aphorism has been said often and with greater effect.
Overall, Mademoiselle Chambon has strong performances, but the story is lacking in clarity and dimension.
"Mademoiselle Chambon," from writer/director Stephane Brize, is exquisitely directed and acted, but the story is so simple that it isn't very fulfilling.
Vincent Lindon plays a middle-aged man in a content but uninteresting marriage. He becomes friendly with his son's schoolteacher, and before he knows what has hit him, he is parking his car outside her apartment to watch her come and go. He's no stalker; he's falling in love. She's feeling exactly the same way.
The depiction of ordinary people falling in love is incredibly beautiful, among the best I've ever seen. Brize chooses to under-write it. The characters are not very verbal. Their feelings come out more in their eyes and body language, and the way they stumble and feel awkward around each other. Awkward and happy and hopeful. It's just delightful to watch. Brize apparently had a remarkable rapport with the actors during the shoot. The three of them are so completely on the same page, and they deliver the emotions of these characters with such compassion and clarity.
After the joy of watching them become smitten with each other, it's agony to watch them feel the pain of realizing the intractability of their situation. He's married with one child in school and another one on the way. His marriage might not be great, but it's not bad. And he's got huge responsibilities to his children. What a dilemma.
This was a lovely film that dealt with choices and how sometimes the very act of choosing causes pain no matter which choice one makes. The two lead actors, Vincent Lindon (Jean) and Sandrine Kiberlain (Veronique) gave us characters who conveyed their feelings with few words. There were silences that in another context might have been uncomfortable, but here felt completely natural because of the emotional presence of these two fine actors. The pace is slow, and does seem to drag at times, but the lovely scenery and the moral dilemma faced by these star-crossed lovers helps to assuage the languor one feels at times. Aure Atika plays Jean's wife (Anne-Marie), and her eyes tell us that she knows something is not quite right, but in true European fashion, rather than confront, she waits patiently for Jean to sort out his feelings. This is not a simple story. This seems like real people dealing with real moral choices and one feels that strong bonds are being tested. Those bonds that survive may thereby be stronger for the testing.More
In "Mademoiselle Chambon," Jean(Vincent Lindon) is a construction worker in a small town in France. When his wife Anne-Marie(Aure Atika) injures her back at work, he steps up to the plate, picking up their son Jeremy(Arthur Le Houerou) at school where he meets his teacher Veronique(Sandrine Kiberlain). She invites him to talk about his job in front of the class which turns out well and then asks him to fix the window in her apartment.
"Mademoiselle Chambon" is a very lovely and sublime movie that handles the central relationship in a very natural way. Both characters carefully follow the small town rules for etiquette, being careful in each awkward step. All along the way, emotions are not so much articulated as expressed. And that's very believable for two people who have had their ambitions thwarted through life. On the surface, Jean might seem to be living a very happy life with a good job and loving family. However, he followed his father(Jean-Marc Thibault), who at 80 he takes care of with all of his sisters living elsewhere, into the family business without thinking about doing anything else with his life. Veronique awakens long dormant feelings of dissatisfaction in him. Her first passion is playing the violin which at some point she was either told that she was not quite good enough or could never make enough money at, so lacking encouragement, she fell back on the life of being an itinerant teacher. This is something that she is quite good at but there is also something missing from her life.
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