Emmanuel Mouret: ‘The things we say, the things we do’: theory and practice of love and desire | Culture


Few times has a movie title defined the complexity of love so well: The things we say, the things we do. We are losing strength through our mouths. Also theories. But in love there is no guesswork, just practice, and as soon as we move into always muddy territory, self-imposed dogmas collapse. Emmanuel Moret, a veteran in search of the ins and outs of desire, romance, flight, indolence, fragility and the torture of love games – in 2011 he made The art of Loving, the only one of his previous works premiered in Spanish cinemas—, he has composed an ode to the discourse on couple relationships that, talk that talks to you, at some point threatens to become a monserga, but that despite its high and evident pretensions is imposed with the final simplicity of his catalog: the fabulous nonsense that we usually do and, above all, say, in a field where there is no valid answer at any time in life.

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Formally and narratively, Mouret seems to move between the brilliant bombast of Arnaud Desplechin and the astonishing spontaneity of Philippe Garrel, via Éric Rohmer. With multiple changes in the point of view of his choral portrait and a complex use of the times, with respect to which the past, the present and even the future come to define his essence; In other words, it is possible to be sentencing on one aspect and have done or are doing just the opposite. Thus, the film presents a variety of characters that can end up defining us in many ways: dating the one who is neither your type (is there?), Nor the desired one, not even the expected one; that a couple where both seem perfect for each other is a failure; cowardice, conceit and envy; the inability of some people to be the lover, and the satisfaction of others for feeling flattered by considering themselves the favorites; the guilt that corrodes us; the powerful influence of smell; the extraordinary sense of pretense, and, perhaps best, the essentiality of the gaze.

With a soundtrack full of masterpieces, although on the verge of becoming a Big hits of classical music, Mouret uses melodies, yes, with a singular cadence and style, within a very simple, almost anodyne staging, particularly indoors, but which in its confluence with the torrential texts and with works such as the Adagio for String, by Samuel Barber, or the Night No. 20, by Frédéric Chopin, they end up articulating a work without time or place. As if its characters had escaped from romanticism or baroque, to reach a world that is none other than ours. A place where there is only one secret, feeling calm and at peace with yourself, knowing that there is no single correct path. There are several, but perhaps not all at once.


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