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Affair of Love, An

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 07/20/00 20:36:04

"Doesn't quite live up to the early promise."
3 stars (Average)

Belgian film is quality film. With such works as Ma Vie En Rose, Karakter and Il Postino emanating in whole or part from Belgium in recent years, a new Belgian film has a tough act to follow. A Pornographic Affair, to the credit of director Frederic Fonteyne, gives it a good old fashioned shake, tries something new and contains fine performances from the film's two characters. But as well executed as it is, there's something decidedly unsatisfying about the end result.

Nathalie Baye is 'Her', a woman approaching middle age who decides she wants to fulfil a fantasy. She places an ad in the personals section for a man to meet her and have anonymous sex with her. Her choice for this task is 'Him' (Sergi Lopez), a slightly younger man who shows up, makes with some small talk and fills her need. After time, this meeting becomes regular and as feelings start to become entangled, the anonymous friendship is strained.

There's something very teasing about this film. Certainly the director's intention with the title is not to indicate that the film is pornographic (because it isn't) but that the affair itself is about sex and not love. However, this idea is not fully realised and the viewer, by the end, has a real feeling of incompletion.

To be fair, perhaps this is what Fonteyne intended, to have the audience feel what the characters feel, the lack of closure. Irrespective of this, it doesn't fulfil a moviegoers needs. It's a journey you have to take to discover you didn't want to take it.

Rightly or wrongly, as astounding as the performances are, as beautiful as the setting is and as thoughtfully as the film is shot, that's an anti-climax.

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