Elective Affinities VI: La chambre bleue (2014)

by Nandia Foteini Vlachou

.

La chambre bleue (2014)

La chambre bleue (2014)

.

This is less a case of elective affinities, since Mathieu Amalric seems to have (un)consciously modelled some of the scenes in his latest film, La chambre bleue (2014), after recognizable paintings – or, at least, so I thought. The embrace of the two lovers in the blue room immediately recalled Egon Schiele’s homonymous painting, as well as a specific shot of the private parts of his co-star and real life partner, Stéphanie Cléau, apparently after Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World (1866, oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris). The film features some memorable scenes, such as this ‘forrest kiss‘, a terrific use of Bach’s Chaconne in the final scene (performed by Itamar Golan, unavailable, but you can listen to the incomparable Michelangeli here), and the chemistry between the two lovers is palpable. Despite its short run, the film seems suspended in time. Instead of proceeding with inexorable determination to its bleak end, there is a dreamlike quality that cancels the story’s sense of urgency. Interpolating the interrogation scenes with the flashbacks (or vice versa), imparted an appropriate sense of doom, but strangely took away from the film’s dénouement. It is a flawed, but fascinating entry in the category of literary adaptations (from Georges Simenon’s crime novel), and I’m curious to see what will come of Amalric’s next project, his adaptation of Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le Noir.

.

Egon Schiele, The Embrace, 1917, oil on canvas, 100 × 170 cm, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna (work in the public domain)

Egon Schiele, The Embrace, 1917, oil on canvas, 100 × 170 cm, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna (work in the public domain)

.

Advertisements