Mademoiselle Chambon (2010)
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as Anne Marie
as The Father
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as School Principal
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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.
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.
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.
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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