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Art Installation or Film? You Decide

MOVIE REVIEW
The (Ex)perience of Love (Le syndrome des amours passées)

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Genre: Comedy
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 29m
Director(s): Ann Sirot & Raphaël Balboni
Writer(s): Ann Sirot & Raphaël Balboni
Cast: Lucie Debay, Lazare Gousseau, Florence Loiret Caille, Nora Hamzawi, Florence Janas, Ninon Borsei, Hervé Piron
Language: French with English subtitles
Where To Watch: premiering May 20 at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival


RAVING REVIEW: THE (EX)PERIENCE OF LOVE invites the audience on an exploration, a captivating journey of love's vast terrain, steering away from the conventional route of romantic comedies. Our protagonists, Rémy (Lazar Gousseau) and Sandra (Lucie Debay), find themselves propelled on an unconventional quest – a tour through their romantic history. This expedition, sparked by an unwelcome diagnosis regarding their potential parenthood, brings a refreshing perspective to the film's narrative.


The duo embarks on a journey in search of love's manifestations, where they encounter characters from their past, thereby unraveling layers of emotions. Their trip through memories becomes an array of experiences. In the comforting world of their shared space, Rémy and Sandra partake in dialogues that craft this tapestry of a story. As the film progresses, viewers are welcomed into their world, tethered by the narrative and the exploration of human interactions—oh, and horse head masks.

Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni, the directors of THE (EX)PERIENCE OF LOVE, spin an imaginative premise that infuses a new spirit into the romantic comedy genre. Each step the couple takes into their romantic past unfolds like a self-reflective verse in a poem. The narrative exudes a dream-like experience, with unexpected scene transitions and random interspersed scenes meant to encourage more profound thought.

THE (EX)PERIENCE OF LOVE ventures beyond the conventional boundaries of film genres; it's not a comedy, it's not a drama, it's not a dramedy, it's something else entirely. Sirot and Balboni's detailed exploration, blending subtle subtexts and examining the harmonious balance, results in a cinematic experience that will have some fans in awe. This film is more of a long extended thought than a straightforward narrative, and it gives the experimental film a solid grounding in reality.

The director’s spotlight intimate moments with shared laughter and emotional tides. A film that takes intimacy to a different level. Creating beauty around their sexual experience on screen. It’s not perverse; they are done, so those scenes have the same impact as the dialogue throughout the film, expanding the story.

THE (EX)PERIENCE OF LOVE critiques traditional norms about relationships and life. Having to pick between parts of life's most core desires, the characters learn more about themselves and the relationship dynamics they have experienced. This film is almost like an art installation that came to life, it won’t be for everyone, but those who enjoy it will love it.

The film's leads set the screen ablaze with their remarkable chemistry as Rémy and Sandra. Their performances breathe vibrancy into the film's romantic encounters that are enhanced by the movie's powerful score, a mix of various styles that help to create a dreamlike reality. THE (EX)PERIENCE OF LOVE is not your typical whirlwind romance, as it dives headfirst into the heart of relationships, investigating desire, vulnerability, and expectation.

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[photo courtesy of THE PR FACTORY/BE FOR FILMS]