SFIFF: Living on Love Alone

I skipped Oliver Stone’s tribute this evening at the San Francisco International Film Festival and I’m glad I did. In its place, I caught a French gem that’s the sort of movie you go to film festivals to discover.

A Living on Love Alone

“Youth,” as W. S. Gilbert wrote, “must have its fling.” But flings have consequences, and growing up can be painful. Writer/director sabelle Czajka’s second feature starts livinglovealoneout examining the difficulties a young person faces starting out on her own—even with a college education. It finishes as something far scarier. Julie (Anaïs Demoustier) is 23, beautiful, impulsive, and looking for a job. But she can’t quite bring herself to do the demeaning chores and groveling involved when you’re starting out in the business world. She embraces life in the moment, but is terrified of it in the long run. No surprise she falls for a charming, good-looking young man who refuses to be tied down to a job—and doesn’t seem to be concerned about it. A character study that slides slowly into a thriller, Living on Love Alone mixes a strong moral sense with a sympathetic eye for those too young to see right from wrong.

Unless someone picks it up for American distribution (keep your fingers crossed), your last chance to see this unique film will be this coming Friday, at 9:00, at the Pacific Film Archive.

Czajka was there for the screening I attended, and answered questions (through an interpreter) after the film. A few of her more interesting points:

  • The first question: What was the starting point of the film. “I wanted to investigate what youth is now.”
  • She was, of course, asked about Demoustier, the young actress who has starred in both of her films. “In the first movie, she played an introvert. I wanted her to be someone different this time. Not someone who looks at herself. She just does things.”
  • I asked about the music. “I knew I wanted a rock rhythm.” (I’d describe it as very hard rock.) The final song was about a true story that vaguely paralleled the end of the film. I won’t go into details.
  • When asked about the film’s meaning: “In France, we have a saying we tell young people, ‘You can’t live on love and clear water.’ [The film’s original title, D’amour et d’eau fraîche, translates as ‘living on love and clear water.’] You have to work, too. Young people have to learn this themselves. They have to try living without working.”
  • One thought on “SFIFF: Living on Love Alone

    Comments are closed.