Chiara Mastroianni, Honore(d)

Christophe Honoré’s favourite actress was awarded in the Un Certain Regard competition in Cannes for the movie On a Magical Night. Overview of a modern and brash woman invigorating the Parisian filmmaker’s filmography.

 By Marine Bohin and Jacques Braunstein

Reading time 3 min.

On a Magical Night


The opening is annoying : non-stopping dialogues, voluntary outdated off tone make us fear a germanopratin smooth talking. But Chiara’s authentic acting foils what could have been a chatty and bookich bluette. Once married to Benjamin Biolay, she now co-stars with him : they act as a couple nearing the end, questioning the erosion of desire, faithfulness, love’s path. In order to do so, why not doing it with an actual former couple. A perverted mise en abyme … But aren’t all directors perverted ? Plus it gets quite fruitful : both characters move, amuse and rejoice. The director has an original way to do it. Shot in a studio, getting unusual angles and ranges, the movie mixes ages through memories and fantastic. A mechanic reminding us Bertrand Blier films (Our Story, Too Beautiful for You, Merci la Vie…) who’s even been thanked in the credits. A funny fact to see the misogynistic director’s variegated universe serving such a subtly feminist movie.

Maria is one of those women who
overthrow conceptions with audacity.

A strongly modern character
To think about her couple, Maria, Mastroianni’s character, spends a (magical) night in a hotel with herself. It has to be said that she just told her husband about her many lovers and he took it way more seriously that she does. Maria is one of those women who overthrow conceptions with audacity, testing stereotypes : lurking cute men in the street, seeing affairs as a way to make a coupe last, using her law teacher status to get laid with her students (Philip Roth would have love it…or not). Even more, she doesn’t see her wrinkles as an obstacle to seduction –alongside Camille Cottin, glowing forty-year-old, in one of her best part.

After the way too serious Sorry Angel, On a Magical Night attests the never-ending inspiration of Christophe Honoré. And we never get bored to see him and Chiara Mastroianni fall in love for the sixth time, for the sixth film.

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