Festival Film ‘Couers’ opened at the Somerville last night.

Directed by Alain Resnais, Private Fears in Public Places (Couers) is adapted from Alan Ayckbourn’s play titled Private Fears in Public Places (2004). It is a film of a play, which provides the opportunity for the audience to see the drama from all angles with some interesting cinematographic effects. For example, the falling snow I felt was effective in making the transition between scenes and added to the atmosphere, and observing people in rooms without ceilings moving from one room to another.

Set in Paris during what appeared to be a snow storm, the drama revolves around six characters, seven if you include Lionel’s bedridden father Arthur who is always a voice in another room. There are some relationships and connections between the characters, but the film is more about six individual stories rather than one main plot with perhaps an underlying theme of looking for love or acceptance.

I was not sure whether there is any resolution for Nicola and Dan (Nicola’s fiance), brother and sister Thierry and Gaëlle, or Lionel (bartender and son of Arthur) and Charlotte (casual carer for Arthur and Thierry’s work collegue at a real estate business). Perhaps more it was a snapshot of ordinary likeable people (except for Arthur) muddling through and find their way through life. It almost had a Thomas Hardy feel about it with regard to fate and chance.

I suspect the French speakers around me got more from the film than I who needed the English subtitles, but I enjoyed its sometimes whimsical feel around what could have been a long drawn out soapy.


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