Chiara Mastroianni, Honor(ed)
Christophe Honoré’s favourite actress has won the Best Performance Prize from the Un certain regard committee at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in On A Magical Night. Portrait of a modern and impertinent woman who refreshes the filmography of the Parisian filmmaker.
By Marine Bohin
Reading time 3 min.
The beginning of the movie is annoying : the dialogues are recited at a frenetic pace, the tone deliberately a bit fake, outdated… It makes us fear a “marivaudage” based upon the way of life in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. But Chiara Mastroianni thwarts by the sincerity of her interpretation, at the opposite of a corny movie.
The one who once was married to Benjamin Biolay, plays his partner in the movie : they interpret a couple falling apart, wondering about the erosion of desire, fidelity, the sense of love. Many themes dear to Christophe Honoré, who loves to test couples. And while we’re at it, why shouldn’t we go back to the torments of the breakup of two actors who loved each other in real life ? A somewhat perverse “mise en abyme” of course… But if directors were sane creatures of spirit, it would be known. And it pays off : one at a time, the duo moves, amuses, rejoices.
Maria is a female role that overturns the codes
and questions stereotypes
A furiously modern character
To reflect on her relationship, Maria, played by Mastroianni, decides to spend a night alone in a hotel, room 212. It should be mentioned that she just confessed to her husband that she has had many love affairs, and it seems like he doesn’t take infidelity lightly. Maria is one of those female roles that overturns the codes with insolence and questions the stereotypes : she turns and stares at the handsome boys on the streets, she sees her affairs as a way to make her couple last and takes advantage of her status as a law teacher to sleep with his students (Philip Roth would have loved it… or not). And most importantly, she doesn’t see her wrinkles like an obstacle to seduction – on her side, Camille Cottin, also in her forties, has found here the most beautiful part of her career.
After the seriousness of Sorry Angel, On A Magical Night reveals the constant inspiration of Christophe Honoré. This is also his sixth collaboration with Chiara Mastroianni, and after all, we don’t get tired to see them fall back in love, movie after movie.