Simple passion of Danielle Arbid: a man and a flame

CRITICAL – In the adaptation of the sulphurous novel by Annie Ernaux, Lætitia Dosch appears overwhelming.

A motionless woman watches a man walk away in Paris at night. The headlights of the cars shine like carefree fireflies, and a little chill seizes the moment of saying goodbye. The man enters the raucous light of a luxury hotel. Smiling, sad and dreamy, the heroine turns away – regretfully, it seems – from this light source to return to the darkness. The novel Simple passion, by Annie Ernaux, published in 1992, accurately told the story of a woman devoured by love and sexual ardor.

By appropriating this text with its sulphurous aura, the Lebanese director Danielle Arbid could have burnt her wings. It is not so. She was able to visually transcribe the writing of this novelist with a neutral style. And has managed to translate sex on the screen, with a certain modesty, without falling into classic erotic imagery. Because that’s what it is most often in Simple passion.

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