LGBT & Queer Music & Musicals News

Bonjour, Paris! Musical Conventions in Les Chansons d’amour (2007, Christophe Honoré)


Fig. 1

Les Chansons d’amour is uncommon because of the realism of its characters, setting and story; the film has little dance and no huge manufacturing numbers, however it’s a musical. The film needs its songs to exist. Moreover, as a musical, Les Chansons d’amour draws on several conventions of the normal Hollywood musical. Honoré and Beaupain adapt these conventions with more care than could also be obvious on a single viewing. The result is that their film is a shifting musical drama, brief, simple, with an easy narrative, plausible characters and fourteen numbers that develop the narrative and the characters’ psychology.

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Les Chansons d’amour is a musical drama fairly than a musical comedy, the extra typical type in the genre. Its thematic preoccupation is with grief. The film begins by depicting the problems in Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) and Ismaël’s (Louis Garrel’s) eight-year relationship. They are arguing about their future and have develop into involved (for one month, thus far) in a ménage-a-trois with Alice (Clotilde Hesme) (Fig. 1). The primary two songs categorical Julie’s frustrations with Ismaël; they suggest that Julie and Ismaël’s stagnating relationship is unravelling. Thirty minutes into the film, Julie’s demise shifts the film’s focus to the survivors and their grief. After an unspecified time, Ismaël meets Erwann (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet). The latter is interested in Ismaël, who continues to be getting over Julie’s demise. After a couple of conferences, Erwann and Ismaël sleep together, but Ismaël, overwhelmed by guilt, visits Julie’s grave, where he imagines her response to his sleeping with Erwann. Following this, Ismaël gets drunk and goes to see Alice. Understanding Erwann’s affection for Ismaël, she takes Ismaël to see Erwann, and the film ends with the pair embracing.

Nick Rees-Robert, David Gerstner, and Julien Nahmias talk about Les Chansons d’amour for instance of up to date French queer filmmaking. Isabelle Vanderschelden and Douglas Morrey talk about it for instance of post-nouvelle obscure filmmaking. Honoré himself denies Les Chansons d’amour is a musical: “it’s less a musical comedy than a movie with track” (Orange 2008). Honoré is right: Les Chansons d’amour isn’t a musical comedy. However it’s an built-in musical, one that pulls on conventions established in American musicals. Furthermore, its achievement as a musical is central to what makes Les Chansons d’amour so profitable. Admittedly, there’s not much dancing in the movie, though there are some choreographed actions; however the film’s central accomplishment as a musical is the best way during which it integrates narrative and numbers.

For Gerald Mast, the mixing of narrative and numbers is the primary challenge faced by all makers of musicals:

The technique of shifting from one order of reality or fashion to another, generated by know-how in The Jazz Singer, turned a conceptual drawback for every musical film to comply with: What conventions would lead from the odd prose of dialog to the poeticized expansiveness of music and dance? (Mast 1987: 88-89)

Fig. 2. Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer (1927)

This drawback is solved if the musical is a few musical performer (Fig. 2). Therefore, although several kinds of musicals exist, the backstage or present musical dominates the style because backstage musicals naturalise the relationship between numbers and narrative. As Babington and Evans write, “many more than half the musicals ever made are of the backstage sort” (1985: 55). Steven Cohan (2010) notes that since 2000 the teenager musical has had a minor resurgence, in television programmes as well as function films, thus confirming Jane Feuer’s statement (1993: 91) that the musical moved into other media through the 1980s. A number of current musicals are backstage musicals, with examples such because the Excessive Faculty Musical films (2006, 2007, 2008, Kenny Ortega), Pitch Good (2012, Jason Moore), Camp (2003, Todd Graff), The Marc Pease Experience (2009, Todd Louiso), and Glee (2009-2015).

Nevertheless, Les Chansons d’amour is an built-in musical relatively than a backstage musical; its numbers develop the narrative and categorical the characters’ wishes, thoughts, and emotions. The movie has solely certainly one of what Feuer (1993: 25) calls a “proscenium quantity,” “Brooklyn Bridge,” carried out on stage by the movie’s composer, Alex Beaupain. The opposite 13 songs are integrated narrative numbers. Les Chansons d’amour’s combination of the musical and drama is unusual, however there have been previous attempts to modernise musicals by giving them extra critical subject matters: A Star Is Born (1954, George Cukor), It’s All the time Truthful Climate (1955, Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly), On a Clear Day You Can See Perpetually (1970, Vincente Minnelli), Cabaret (1972, Bob Fosse), New York, New York (1977, Martin Scorsese), and Hair (1979, Milos Forman).

These American musicals differ from Honoré’s film, not least in the kind of singing. The tonal vary of Honoré’s singers is restricted; their voices sound untrained and musically weak. They lack vary, energy, or the capacity for delicate expressions of tonal variety. The performers in Les Chansons d’amour (Garrel, Sagnier, Mastroianni, and Hesme) are film stars fairly than professional singers, but their star personae have a big resonance and their voices’ apparent weak spot provides authenticity to their sung expressions. Their singing expresses their characters’ thoughts and feelings, while conveying a robust factor of individual id. To accommodate much less completed voices, the vocal supply in Les Chansons d’amour is persistently delicate and semi-spoken. Some songs have a more upbeat tempo, however the melodic vary is restricted and the rhythms are simple.

In many ways, the musical is a man-made style, however realism is current in the fact that the actors sing in their own voices. As Mast writes: “The performer in a musical does not merely make singing sounds but externalizes internal states by way of the sounds and phrases of a singing instrument” (1987: 93-94). For Mast, “musicals are efficiency truths” (1987: 266). In Les Chansons d’amour, the actors’ voices, with all their imperfections and limitations, are very important; the performers externalise their feelings utilizing “the sounds and phrases of a singing instrument.” Christophe Honoré states:

I prefer it once they can’t sing. I wish to see their vulnerability in the singing segments. It seems like they overlook they’re appearing; in consequence, they’re targeted on something aside from the psychology or the blocking, and that lets me movie them in laid-back conditions. In Demy’s movies, the track is rather more operatic. (Gerstner and Nahmias 2015: 195)

Honoré’s distinction is apposite: Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964, Jacques Demy) is more operetta than musical; there are not any separate songs, and all the dialogue is sung.

In contrast, Les Chansons d’amour has distinct songs, all of which have a verse-chorus type. Honoré states: “With Demy, then again, actors not often repeat the same line. We’re much closer to the Hollywood musical, which took standards from the American songbook that folks already knew by coronary heart” (Cléder and Picard 2014: 175-176). Beaupain additionally admits that though he and Honoré admire Demy’s films, “our songs are very removed from Demy’s universe and Michel Legrand’s music, which has a type of jazz and fugue affect; my very own [songs] are nearer to pop music, French music and piano-voice mixtures” (Cléder and Picard 2014: 216). One potential affect on Honoré and Beaupain’s work is the “realist singer” of 1930s French films: Fréhel in Coeur de lilas (1932, Anatole Litvak) and Pepé le moko (1937, Julien Duvivier); Damia in Sola (1931, Henri Diamant-Berger) and La Tête d’un homme (1933, Julien Duvivier); Odette Barencey in Faubourg Montmatre (1931, Raymond Bernard); and Edith Piaf in La Garçonne (1936, Jean de Limur). It is tempting to listen to a hyperlink between these singers’ melancholy tones and Honoré’s singers, however Kelley Conway observes that the popularity of the singing star is an important part of the best way that singers like Fréhel and Damia are included into fiction; of Damia’s singing in La tête d’un homme, Conway writes: “as is so typically the case with the realist singer, her symbolic weight within the narrative far outweighs her actual display time” (Conway 2001: 150). The 1930s singers have been well-known music hall performers earlier than they appeared in films; Fréhel’s songs in Coeur de lilas “rely for his or her fullest which means upon the spectators’ information of the two sides of Fréhel’s persona” (Conway 2004: 110). French filmmakers exploited the prevailing attraction of superstar singers. This isn’t the case with Honoré’s singers in Les Chansons d’amour.

Beaupain’s songs take their place with the custom of common French music, together with postwar singers like Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, Jean Ferrat, and Barbara, whose “Ce matin là” performs over the top credit. Nevertheless, Beaupain cites newer influences, reminiscent of Etienne Daho, Taxi Woman, Daniel Darc, and Frédéric Lo (Cléder and Picard 2014: 217). Lo labored with Beaupain on the arrangement and manufacturing of Chansons d’amour’s songs, and one can hear the resemblances between Beaupain’s songs and Daniel Darc’s songs on Darc’s 2004 album Crèvecoeur, which was produced, as Beaupain notes, by Lo.

There are fourteen numbers in Les Chansons d’amour: six duets, six solos, one stage number, and one group number, albeit one through which the characters sing 5 separate verses.

1. “De Bonnes raisons” – duet between Ismaël and Julie
2. “L’Inventaire” – duet between Ismaël and Julie
Three. “La Bastille” – solos by five relations
4. “Je n’aime que toi” – trio by Julie, Ismaël, and Alice
5. “Brooklyn Bridge” – solo efficiency by Beaupain in nightclub
6. “Delta Charlie Delta” – solo by Ismaël
7. “Il faut se taire” – duet by Alice and Ismaël
eight. “As-tu déjà aimé?” – duet by Ismaël and Erwann
9. “Les Yeux au ciel” – solo by Ismaël
10. “La Distance” – duet between Ismaël and Erwann
11. “Ma mémoire sale” – solo by Isamël to Erwann
12. “Au Parc” – solo by Jeanne
13. “Si tard” – solo by Julie to Ismaël
14. “J’ai cru entendre” – duet between Ismaël and Erwann

As was typically the case with Hollywood musicals, six numbers predate the movie, taken from Beaupain’s first album, Garçon d’honneur (2005). These are: “Les Yeux au ciel” (on album Au ciel), “Pourquoi viens-tu si tard?,” “Il faut se taire” (on album Se taire), “Parc de la Pépinière,” “Brooklyn Bridge,” and “As-tu déjà aimé?” (on album La beauté d’un geste). Beapain’s songs all are likely to revolve round repeated easy phrases that develop from narrative conditions. With a verse-chorus type, his songs repeat lyrics and melodies several occasions; all can perform as stand-alone items, as they have accomplished in Beaupain’s reside exhibits.

The solos work as equivalents to soliloquies or voice-overs, intimate revelations of private thoughts accepted as exterior expressions by means of convention. “Les Yeux au ciel” is Ismaël’s soliloquy about grief, sung after he leaves Julie’s household residence (Fig. 3). It accompanies his journey residence and accommodates a haunting pause within the music when he appears down the street where Julie died (Fig. four). While the solos give exterior expression to inner emotions, the duets perform as conversations or arguments. When Julie and Ismaël sing “De Bonnes raisons” and “L’Inventaire,” she complains to him about their relationship (Fig. 5). The lyrics explain the explanations for his or her conflict, which the songs intensify. Each “De Bonnes raisons” and “L’Inventaire” current Julie and Ismaël’s arguments and categorical the characters’ dissatisfactions, however the stability shifts within the second track; Ismaël tries to be affectionate while Julie continues to complain about their relationship (Fig. 6). He moans about her mother’s telephone calls. She sings: “Eight years of affection, one Thursday, in my faculty pack, your sole letter that day. 9 will I make it? I can’t lie.” Her next strains, “I do know you’re mine/However love can die,” characterize the film’s opening premise. In their mid- to late twenties, Julie and Ismaël are questioning whether or not they need to spend their lives collectively. The track suggests their relationship has stagnated. “What reminiscences do you’ve got of me,” she sings. He replies: “Perhaps we’d higher, depart it at that.”


Fig. 3


Fig. four


Fig. 5


Fig. 6

“L’Inventaire” continues the theme of “De Bonnes raisons,” but each music and phrases are extra critical, as is acceptable for the change from outdoors on the street, the place he stunned her, to inside their condominium. In the midst of “L’Inventaire,” an inserted exterior shot of a motorcyclist zooming past provides a jolt of delight. The motorcycle’s engine noise is in time with the track; the music pauses through the shot of the bike, and the engine noise takes over (Fig. 7). The motorcycle and the musical pause add realism; the shot is motived by Julie shifting to the window and searching (Fig. eight). This duet expresses Julie’s frustrations together with her relationship; the shot of the motorcycle represents her perspective as she seems past the flat she shares with Ismaël. It’s applicable that after the shot of the motorcycle, Julie turns back to take a look at Ismaël and sings: “Too much harm/For the great/Once you add it all up/Love, you’re keen on me how a lot/The whole lot fades, it’s an open guide.”


Fig. 7


Fig. 8


Fig. 9

Within the trio “Je n’aime que toi,” Julie expresses her frustration much more forcefully. Alice, Julie and Ismaël sing as they run and dance alongside the road, on their option to the nightclub (Fig. 9). The track has an up-tempo rhythm, yet it expresses a serious argument between Julie and Ismaël, with Alice making an attempt to make peace between them. Julie provides Ismaël an ultimatum:

Little shit, make your selection
We’ll be two, not three
That’s all over, let’s rejoice
Come on, it’s her or me

The track clarifies that Ismaël and Julie are each jealous and indignant. In reality, general, four of the five numbers earlier than Julie’s demise categorical her exasperation with Ismaël, implying that if she had lived, she and Ismaël would have separated.

Apart from dancing, one other convention of film musicals that Les Chansons d’amour restricts is direct handle. Traditionally, when characters sing to the digital camera as if to an inner viewers, the gadget encourages complicity between character and audience. In “La Bastille,” Julie seems on the digital camera briefly as she sings about Paris on a rainy Sunday afternoon (Fig. 10). In “Au Parc,” Jeanne (Chiara Mastroianni) appears at the digital camera all through her music, her direct handle accentuating her melancholic delivery. In each instances, the direct handle will increase the intimacy between character and viewers.


Fig. 10

Different songs in Les Chansons d’amour categorical ideas and emotions without direct handle; for example, “Delta Charlie Delta,” “Les Yeux aux ciel,” and “Si Tard.” These numbers share a staging principle. In each, Ismaël walks alongside the streets, going from police station to house with “Delta Charlie Delta,” from Julie’s mother and father’ flat to his residence with “Les Yeux aux ciel,” and from cemetery to bar with “Si Tard.” These three numbers categorical Ismaël’s grief at totally different levels. “Delta Charlie Delta” expresses his shock within the quick aftermath of Julie’s demise. In “Les Yeux au ciel,” Ismaël sings of his ongoing unhappiness. “Si Tard” expresses his guilty imagining of Julie’s response to his having slept with Erwann (Fig. 11). The “Si Tard” number uses a few of the conventions of the musical dream sequence by visualising Julie’s ghostly appearance, first strolling alongside Ismaël as he leaves the cemetery, then appearing as a face within the sky as he walks (Fig. 12). Feuer describes the musical’s dream sequences as “a sort of psychic cleansing process for the dreamer within the movie which is instantly transferable to the narrative” (1993: 76). “Si Tard” gives a extra restrained use of the conference, nevertheless it nonetheless works in the same means, with Ismaël imagining Julie’s response to him. The quantity reveals that despite his experiences with Erwann, Julie’s demise still impacts Ismaël.


Fig. 11


Fig. 12

Writing of musical dream sequences, Feuer implies that Hollywood musicals (and films normally) current a false resolution of irresolvable social conflicts:

The expertise of the film might provide an emotional catharsis or an escape for the viewer, because the dream does for the dreamer inside the film. However when the musical additionally implies that dream ballets resolve the very actual issues of the narrative, and by analogy, that films fulfil our wishes in “real life,” the parallel between films and life breaks down.… For genre films serve the culture by working via (in symbolic type) conflicts that may never actually be resolved outdoors the cinema. (Feuer 1993: 76)

The normal Hollywood musical ends with the formation of a heterosexual couple. As Babington and Evans write: “No matter different meanings it has contained, the Hollywood musical has all the time highlighted the love story. From Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler to John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, successive couples have paired off earlier than the final credits” (1985: 190). The musical resolves conflicts that one can’t resolve outdoors the cinema, together with the promise of romantic monogamy. Yet Honoré made Les Chansons d’amour free from the legal and social circumstances beneath which Hollywood studio musicals developed; his movie is open about sexuality in a fashion that reflects trendy society.


Fig. 13

Subsequently, although Les Chansons d’amour ends with the formation of a pair, it’s one through which each partners are males. One might argue, nevertheless, that the film repeats the utopian promise of conventional musicals. The narrative follows Erwann’s want for Ismaël whereas the latter continues to be processing his grief for Julie. The film presents Erwann’s want as normal; nothing signifies that homosexual want is problematic. A brand new relationship is problematic for Ismaël because he is still grieving, somewhat than because it is with another man. Erwann’s drawback is his infatuation with a grief-stricken man who is ten years older than him, slightly than his sexuality. The “Si Tard” quantity presents a psychic release for Ismaël. He imagines Julie’s response to his late visit to her grave and his night time with Erwann. Following this, Ismaël gets drunk; then, Alice takes him to Erwann. The film ends with Ismaël and Erwann embracing (Fig. 13). However the decision is precarious, as Honoré notes:

It was necessary to me to not have a cheerful ending – I’ve them kissing, however they’re on a ledge. And Ismaël has the foresight to see that the boy who loves him is seventeen, and at seventeen you can be head over heels in love, but only for every week. (Orange 2008)

The ending is optimistic because it suggests that Ismaël is on the street to recovery no matter whether or not Erwann and Ismaël have an extended relationship ahead of them (Fig. 14). The musical gear-shift on the film’s finish additionally implies a retreat from the intensity of a transient ardour, shifting from the fast arduous sound of Beaupain’s guitar-driven “J’ai cru entendre” to Barbara’s mild phrasing in “Ce matin là” in the course of the end credit.


Fig. 14

“La Bastille” is distinctive as a result of it includes 5 soliloquies from the 5 relations. Compressing a number of hours into a few minutes, the track expresses shared feelings, replaces dialogue scenes, indicates Julie’s hasty departure (followed by Jeanne), exhibits the younger sister Jasmine’s (Alice Butaud) Sunday afternoon reading, and divulges the mother and father going to bed later that night time. Every individual sings their ideas, externalises their intimate emotions; the characters’ singing separates them, but the music unites them. Indeed, “La Bastille” achieves a strong sense of integration, each individual contributing to the music, expressing their feelings individually yet coming collectively in the drive of their sentiment. The characters hear one another singing (for example, Jeanne and the mother hear Julie sing in the kitchen [Fig.15]), whereas Jeanne sings to Julie as she walks her to the metro (Fig. 16), and the mother sings to her husband and Jasmine that night time (Fig. 17). All of them sing softly, but their voices’ various timbres deliver texture to the track; the daddy’s entrance into the track is affecting partially because of the unexpectedness of his entrance into the track and partially because the actor, Jean-Marie Winling, has an expressive tenor voice (Fig. 18).


Fig. 15


Fig. 16


Fig. 17


Fig. 18

“La Bastille” conveys the melancholy of a moist Sunday afternoon, after a household lunch is over and everyone is considering going again to work on Monday. The whole household sings concerning the rain, climate that exacerbates the temper of restlessness and claustrophobia of a post-Sunday lunch afternoon. Yet though the track expresses melancholy, it’s also about family contentment, especially that of the mother and father, who at this point haven’t any purpose to worry about Julie. Their expressions point out their happiness, with their family and their three daughters. Although each Julie’s and Jeanne’s singing is melancholy, the mom’s singing is joyful; she smiles at her husband and daughter as she sings to them. The music unites the household in their expression of atypical Sunday afternoon feelings, and it brings them collectively for one final time earlier than Julie’s demise; she is going to die that evening. When Julie slams the door, her father will get up to look for her, disturbed by the sound of the door closing. The second hints at some trigger for alarm. Her hasty departure with out saying goodbye is a plausible expression of her dangerous temper, brought on by the mixture of her frustrations with Ismaël and her family’s heat welcoming of him. The sentiment of the music might seem overdone, yet the father and Jeanne’s sung farewells tackle further resonances on repeat viewings. They both sing the identical lyrics: “I’d love you until goodbye/On this rain and all it brings.” Jeanne does in order she walks Julie to the station, holding an umbrella for them in the rain (Fig. 19). After Julie has descended into the metro, with all the traditional associations of descents into the ground, Jeanne turns again to look towards the station and the track ends.


Fig. 19

Like “La Bastille,” “Delta Charlie Delta” compresses a longer period into a few minutes. It begins as Ismaël leaves the police station and walks house, carrying a plastic bag with Julie’s white coat and blue gown inside it (Fig. 20). It is a grey day, rain turning to sleet. At the finish of the first verse, Ismaël phones Julie’s father (Fig. 21). There is a shot of him answering the telephone in mattress, his wife subsequent to him (Fig. 22). All we hear of the dialog is Ismaël figuring out himself. Ismaël’s voice is singing on the soundtrack, but the piano pauses between verses as Ismaël says: “C’est Ismaël.” As well as Ismaël’s speaking voice, the film consists of background visitors noises and the sound of the father’s phone ringing in the course of the shot of him waking to its sound. Ismaël then sings “It’s all mud to dust” whereas there’s a shut shot of Julie’s father receiving the news. In contrast to the movie’s different songs, “Delta Charlie Delta” is sung from outdoors the fictional world. The music expresses his shock, but Ismaël sings on the soundtrack as if his singing is a voice-over, while the pictures depict his walk residence in the rain and his partial collapse on the pavement (Fig. 23).


Fig. 20


Fig. 21


Fig. 22


Fig. 23

One consequence of the decision to have Ismaël sing off-screen is that it allows Honoré to compress several occasions into the track’s three-and-a-half-minute period. The black-and-white pictures, for example, are an expressive means of slicing forward in time, incorporating extra than simply the speedy impression of Julie’s demise. A part of this quantity presents Ismaël’s prompt reaction to Julie’s demise; a part of it presents later reactions, reminiscent of those of Julie’s family at her funeral. This quantity exemplifies Beaupain and Honoré’s achievement, with the mixing of Ismaël’s telephone name to Julie’s father a particularly effective choice. The same precept guides both the interjection and using the black-and-white pictures; the soundtrack continues to symbolize the fictional world, while the images interrupt the narrative sequence. The first few black-and-white pictures are of Julie on the bottom (Fig. 24) and within the ambulance (Fig. 25), with the paramedics making an attempt to resuscitate her. Then, during “Delta Charlie Delta” there are pictures of a distraught Jeanne (Fig. 26), of Julie’s mother and father with Ismaël inside the morgue (Fig. 27), and of the funeral (Fig. 28). The final photograph is of Jasmine’s guide (Henri Michaux’s The Night time Stirs) (Fig. 29). In addition to compressing narrative occasions, the black-and-white pictures add an impression of documentary reportage, as if representing snapshots of real life.


Fig. 24


Fig. 25


Fig. 26


Fig. 27


Fig. 28


Fig. 29

“Delta Charlie Delta” conveys the sudden shock of Julie’s demise. She is a serious character, performed by a movie star, and the movie refrains from warning us that this is going to happen. The construction of the track derives from the police code for a demise, the blunt shorthand of “Delta Charlie Delta” echoed in the tune and refrain. The repeating piano chords, the four-four tempo, and the quasi-blues tones give depth and urgency, strengthening the number’s expression of Ismaël’s emotions. He sings concerning the police code as a result of these are the words that first affirm Julie’s dying. But though the track is inspired by the policeman’s radio message and follows straight on from Julie’s demise, “Delta Charlie Delta” condenses several events into an indeterminate period: the quick morning after; the mother and father and Ismaël taking a look at Julie’s physique in the morgue; the funeral, days or perhaps weeks later; and Alice upset in a taxi. What’s true of the track can also be true of the whole movie, which never confirms the story’s period. Intertitles indicate the story’s three elements (departure, absence, and return), however the movie leaves ambiguous the interval coated, never clarifying how much time elapses between Julie’s dying and Ismaël’s getting along with Erwann. That ambiguity concerning the period proven by the whole movie prevents straightforward judgment of Ismaël.

Honoré and Beaupain both appear in cameos that affiliate them with Julie’s dying. Beaupain performs in the nightclub that Julie, Ismaël, and Alice go to, outdoors of which Julie dies (Fig. 30). He sings “Brooklyn Bridge” on stage, the only track that is finished as an on-stage efficiency inside the fictional world. The scene consists of an anonymous spectator calling out Beaupain’s identify and close-ups of Beaupain as he sings, notably when he sings the line “Like a joyful youngster” after Julie leaves. Honoré associates himself with the aftermath of Julie’s dying by shaking Ismaël’s hand outdoors the synagogue, the place, presumably, Ismaël has been for help (Fig. 31). (The synagogue appears to verify Alice’s earlier comment to Ismaël that he’s half Jewish.) By shaking the hand of the protagonist, Honoré associates himself with each Ismaël’s grief and the start of his recovery. Like Hitchcock’s cameos, Honoré’s and Beaupain’s cameos indicate a deliberate association of themselves with the film’s central dramatic event.


Fig. 30


Fig. 31

The final number I will talk about is “Au Parc.” The piano introduction to “Au Parc” begins when Jeanne is left standing on the road, holding her canine, shouting at Ismaël as he walks away from her (Fig. 32). There’s a minimize to a shot of the carousel within the park, naked branches in the foreground of the shot and frost seen on the bottom (Fig. 33). Jeanne sings the primary verse:

The identical winter sun
The identical snapping twigs
Icy fingertips
Frost on the railings
The same odor of soil
Of earth gone to earth
It’ll all be there
Apart from you


Fig. 32


Fig. 33

After the primary line, the film cuts to a shot of some youngsters enjoying on the bottom beneath a leafless tree with long spindly branches (Fig. 34). The digital camera pans left (Fig. 35), following one baby and his mother as they walk alongside the path (Fig. 36), passing close to the digital camera as it pans (Fig. 37). After this pan, the film cuts to a flock of birds taking off from treetops (Fig. 38), with the digital camera following the flying birds to the proper, before chopping to a shot of Jeanne leaning towards the tree singing (Fig. 39). Like the shot of the motorcyclist inserted into “L’Inventaire” or the photographs of the passers-by with umbrellas in “La Bastille,” the shot of the birds in “Au Parc” injects realism into the number.


Fig. 34


Fig. 35


Fig. 36


Fig. 37


Fig. 38


Fig. 39

As Jeanne begins to sing the refrain, the digital camera strikes towards her (Fig. 40):

The Pépinière Park at the week’s end
Another hour, yet one more hour, if that
Another hour before dusk


Fig. 40

Jeanne sings the subsequent verse with the digital camera persevering with to strategy her:

The identical temperature
Right down to freezing point
Melancholy beasts
On the gates of the zoo
The identical hurried mother and father
Their youngsters wrapped up heat
It’ll all be there
It’ll all be there
Apart from you

As the digital camera closes in on Jeanne, it reveals that she is wanting straight at us (Fig. 41). When she begins the second refrain, she is framed in a medium lengthy shot, the line of timber stretching out behind her alongside the path. She sings the subsequent verse, alternating wanting on the digital camera and searching down or off to the fitting. As she sings the last line of the third verse, “Apart from you,” she is framed in a medium shot wanting right into the digital camera all through (Fig. 42). She sings the final chorus in a close-up, wanting on the digital camera. Nevertheless, this time she sings a further line after “Encore une heure de jour et la nuit vient (Another hour before nightfall),” which is “Et puis … rien (And then … nothing more)” (Fig. 43). After she sings the final line, she appears down and the film cuts to a frontal shot of the trail with timber on both aspect receding into the space (Fig. 44). The music concludes and church bells chime.


Fig. 41


Fig. 42


Fig. 43


Fig. 44

The film prepares for this quantity narratively and musically. Narratively, the movie establishes that Pépinière Park holds a particular attraction for Jeanne. She refers to it through the second household lunch, which takes place after Julie’s dying. The first line of the lunch scene is Jeanne’s comment that she has taken the household dog for a walk in Pépinière Park: “I hadn’t been again there since Julie died.” She reminds her mom: “It was our park. You took us there once we have been youngsters.” Her return to Pépinière Park hints that Jeanne is starting to get well. Musically, the film sets the number up through the use of an instrumental model of “Au Parc” twice before. It’s first used in the course of the opening credit score sequence, which introduces Julie strolling along the road as she goes to the cinema. It ends with an overhead shot of her simply before the intertitle broadcasts the first half. The second use of this music happens in the course of the scene when Ismaël returns to his flat and finds Jeanne there. The piano music starts when she asks him for a light-weight. Following this, he touches her cheek, as if expressing empathy, but then stands up to depart, saying: “Sorry, I can’t go on like this; I simply can’t. I’m not . It doesn’t assist.”

As with “La Bastille” and “Delta Charlie Delta,” the lyrics, music, and vocal performance of “Au Parc” externalise the interior. The lyrics evoke Jeanne’s experience of the park now, in contrast together with her reminiscences of sharing it together with her sister once they have been youthful. She sings of “The same winter solar,” “the same snapping twigs,” “the same odor of soil,” and “the same hurried mother and father.” She sings of strolling the place she walked together with her sister, “on the similar time of day.” And her refrain repeats “It’ll all be there/Apart from you.” Jeanne performs to the digital camera, addressing us, her viewers, but the lyrics converse to the lifeless Julie, imagine that her sister hears her mournful lament. As she sings, Jeanne alternates gazing on the ground and searching at the approaching digital camera. She sighs as she sings, weary and sad. Her singing is in a slender register and, at some factors, is more like a smooth speaking. Mastroianni’s intimate vocal performance, delivered in direct handle, evokes the character’s fragility and grief.

Jeanne is the one member of Julie’s family to get a number to herself. And in addition to Ismaël’s grief, it’s Jeanne’s grief that the film expresses absolutely. The staging of the quantity increases the track’s impression, so that a complicated impact is created by the mixture of pictures, music, and narrative, with the scene’s visual parts reinforcing the track’s aural qualities. These embrace the lights of the carousel, the wintry colors, the spindly naked branches, grey path, darkish garments, Jeanne’s mild blue scarf, the grey mild, and the common spacing of the park’s timber and path. The entire film takes place during winter, but set amongst the naked timber this scene foregrounds the season. The pale lighting is grey-blue. The bottom seems to be frosty. Everybody wears warm clothes. The timber have shed their leaves. Their branches type a display in the first shot and grasp over the youngsters in the second shot. The whole lot appears chilly, dormant.

When the digital camera approaches Jeanne, the line of timber provides perspective to the shot; aside from a passing couple, nobody else is visible. In consequence, the framing intensifies the isolation expressed by the music. Moreover, the scene begins by displaying a mother and her youngster. The location of the mom and youngster emphasises the park’s affiliation with Jeanne and Julie’s childhood. Once one knows this shot goes to end up by displaying Jeanne, the importance of the staging becomes apparent: the carousel alludes to childhood; the mother and youngster recollect Jeanne’s remark about remembering her childhood visits to this park with Julie. The staging means that Jeanne’s music concerning the park evolves from her response to the mom and baby. The scene is a wonderful instance of the best way that Honoré’s staging and filming (mother and baby, carousel, wintry park) interact with the quantity. Furthermore, the fact that the movie uses the instrumental version of “Au Parc” in the credit sequence and when Jeanne tries to speak to Ismaël signifies that the reprised sung model features as a conclusion, particularly as that is the last time the film exhibits Jeanne.

Les Chansons d’amour is uncommon because of the realism of its characters, setting, and story; the film has little dance and no massive manufacturing numbers, but it is a musical. The movie wants its songs to exist. Moreover, as a musical, Les Chansons d’amour draws on several conventions of the normal Hollywood musical. Honoré and Beaupain adapt these conventions with more care than may be obvious on a single viewing. The result is that their movie is a shifting musical drama, brief, simple, with an easy narrative, believable characters, and fourteen numbers that develop the narrative and the characters’ psychology. There isn’t a counterpoint between narrative and numbers; the songs have a coherent expressive perform, serving quite than subverting a poignant narrative that presents a psychologically intimate portrait of grief and want mixing collectively within the aftermath of a sudden demise.

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All photographs are screenshots from the film’s DVD.

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