Our most cinephilic francophiles head to the 2015 Melbourne French Film Festival. These are their reviews.
We continue our Melbourne French Film Festival Review Series with our guest blogger Anindita, and her review of Thomas Cailley’s 2014 film Love at First Fight (Les Combattants).
Love at First Fight (Les Combattants) was awarded numerous awards last year and it’s not hard to see why. This coming of age dramedy about two youngsters, Arnaud and Madeleine, is a perfect blend of comedy, drama and romance – with a bit of adventure thrown in. Although the two protagonists initially get off on the wrong foot when Arnaud bites Madeleine’s ear during an impromptu wrestling match, an attraction develops between them during an army boot camp they both sign up for. Disappointed by the lack of survival skills taught at the boot camp, the two decide to take matters into their own hands and attempt to rough it out in the wilderness by themselves. However, they do not anticipate the difficulties of this task and soon things get a little out of control.
One of the most refreshing aspects of Love at First Fight is the portrayal of Madeleine’s complexity and vulnerability. Too often female characters are reduced to the one-dimensional love interest of the male protagonist, but this movie does not shy away from challenging this archetype by presenting an aggressive and physically strong female protagonist whose value does not lie in her looks. She is emotionally repressed, yet is unapologetic about it and rather fearless. Her aggression is balanced out by Arnaud’s soft-spoken and mild-mannered nature.
Overall, this movie is worth a watch: the dialogue is clever and funny, the acting is subtle and the plot is both entertaining and realistic.
Catch Love at First Fight at the festival here.
By Anindita Jaggi.