ON A MAGICAL NIGHT (CHAMBRE 212)

ON A MAGICAL NIGHT (CHAMBRE 212)

Director: Christophe Honoré

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Vincent Lacoste, Camille Cottin, Benjamin Biolay, Carole Bouquet, Marie-Christine Adam, Stéphane Roger, Kolia Abiteboul

Runtime:90minutes

URL: https://youtu.be/xB-guPG0X2w

An all-star French cast romp through this mischievous new film from writer-director Christophe Honoré [Sorry Angel (2018)] a fantastical surreal farce, full of sex and infidelity.

Chiara Mastroianni won Best Actress Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival 2019, for her role as Maria, a woman dissatisfied with her marriage who, after a heated argument with her husband of twenty years Richard (Benjamin Biolay), spends the night in room 212 of the hotel across the street from their home. There, she has a bird’s eye view of her apartment, her husband, and her marriage. In this gentle comic romp, she confronts her past lovers and relationships on one magical night, fantasising about the lives she could have lived and wondering if she has made the right decisions.

She is a Parisian Law professor who has just called off her affair with one of her students (Harrison Arevalo), telling him that she was only attracted to him because his name, Asdrubel Electorat, was highly erotic. Maria goes home to her husband, who finds evidence of her affair with Asdrubel. An argument ensues, where Maria, a serial adulterer declares it is only logical for a long-married person to seek sex with someone else. Richard wonders if he married the wrong woman also.

In Room 212 she meets a handsome young man, who is Richard at 25 (Vincent Lacoste), and later a roomful of former lovers. Willingness (Stéphane Roger) who represents Maria’s will and is a Charles Aznavour lookalike turn up, as well as Maria’s disapproving mother and grandmother.

Meanwhile Richard is re-acquainting himself with his first love, Irène Haffner (Camille Cottin), who taught the 14-year-old Richard (Kolia Abiteboul) to play piano — and had groomed him as a lover from age 14 to 22.

On a Magical Night is a twist on the romantic comedy genre, depicting middle-aged relationships and sources of spousal strife like a threesome with: A Christmas Carol; It’s a Wonderful Life and a lusty sex romp with a theatrical mis-en-scene and a great soundtrack.

At one point during the farcical ‘long dark night of the soul’ the younger Richard reproaches Maria by commenting on the hotel room number ‘In Article 212 Civil code – spouses owe each other respect, fidelity and assistance’.

Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema

Images courtesy of: Curzon Artificial Eye