Mademoiselle Chambon

Stéphane Brizé
Axiom Films

When Véronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain), a quietly beautiful schoolteacher meets Jean (Vincent Lindon), a traditional family man who works in construction, the pair embark upon a love affair that is just as demure as Véronique’s wardrobe choices.

It’s not that Brizé fails to create a romantic setting for the couple’s series of chance encounters; the cinematography is beautiful, emphasised by an apt pace that never accelerates past a gentle trot, and it’s always visually pleasing to be in the rural French countryside in the dappled light of late summer. In typical French style there’s not a lot of dialogue, Brizé instead chooses the violin and the newly romanticised plaster trowel to do the talking. In this sense, Mademoiselle Chambon is a crash course in suggestive framing and non-verbal communication, but little more.

This film has the air of an intimate portrayal of a romance never-realised; the only problem is that it plays more like a series of well-shot and exquisitely acted moments than a story well-told, which leaves the narrative a bit thin on the ground.

Bethany Rex