Anaïs In Love

Reviewed by Ian Payne

Anaïs in Love was the third screening in the Keswick Film Club season and by coincidence, the third French Film to have been shown.

It was quintessentially French with some moments of humour and was undoubtedly visually stunning – beautiful people in beautiful locations, not least the north coast of Brittany. Parallels drawn with the films of Eric Rohmer and early Woody Allen were, though, perhaps generous.

Director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet created a semi-autobiographical film centring on the chaotic life of the eponymous Anaïs, writing the part specifically for actor Anaïs Demoustier.

Anaïs is a young, pretty Parisienne, always running, always late and seemingly lacking any sort of commitment. Having ditched her boyfriend, she takes up with an older man but becomes infatuated with his wife, resulting in a determined seduction. In an interview, Bourgeois-Tacquet said that she had an affair with a man who often talked about his wife and she felt she wanted to meet her as they would have a lot in common!

Despite her mounting debt, rafts of broken promises and downright lies, Anaïs seems to breeze through life, forgiven, bailed out and always emerging ahead of the pack - and still looking lovely.

For the film to work, the audience needed to buy into the character of Anaïs and give her the same love and latitude as those around her on screen. From their reaction, the Keswick audience did not. You could almost feel the "If she was my daughter, I'd..." vibe in the Alhambra.

Even the clichéd device of Anaïs having a terminally-ill mother did not engender great sympathy for the character.

For all her running, Anaïs could not quite catch the affection of the Keswick audience.