Hi, this is Biagio from the Yonkers Public Library’s Will branch, and here is a film that I recommend you check out on our free movie streaming service Kanopy: Mademoiselle Chambon.
First, a little bit about Kanopy. Kanopy, like Netflix or Hulu, is a streaming video service that would normally charge subscribers a monthly fee. However, YPL makes this service available to YPL cardholders for free! Kanopy specializes in documentaries, indie films, and classic films, including selections from the Criterion Collection. You can set up a Kanopy account using your YPL library card barcode and PIN, and receive 20 “play credits” per month to watch Kanopy films.You can also download the Kanopy App for iPhone & iPad or the App for Android.
But back to the film at hand: Mademoiselle Chambon is a French film from 2009, which I strongly suggest that you watch. I’m a sucker for films about human longing. Films about how we can meet certain people who make us question the direction of our lives. Why does a certain person capture our heart? Can we suppress that painful longing in our hearts?
This film is about Jean, a married man who unexpectedly falls in love with his son’s school teacher, Véronique Chambon. They innocently meet when Jean is late picking up his son from school. They politely chat as any teacher and parent would. He is asked by Véronique to come back and talk to her class about his profession, which is that of a simple bricklayer.
Before you know it, Jean is asked by Véronique to fix a faulty window in her apartment. She beautifully lays out colorful macaroon cookies for him before he arrives. After his work is done, they talk over coffee in her loft. You can sense them trying to navigate around their awkward silences. He sees a violin and asks her to play a piece for him; she is hesitant but obliges. They part ways, but you know where this is going.
From here on we have scenes of Jean sitting in a French bar, with a beer, staring into space, longing for Véronique. In turn we see Véronique in her small French loft in quiet reflection, thinking of Jean. Longing.
Jean later randomly runs into Véronique, and in his forlorn state asks her if she has a CD recording of the piece she shyly played for him on her violin. She certainly does and invites him over to pick it up. You can cut the romantic tension with a chainsaw as they have a beer and put on the CD. What occurs next is probably the most beautiful, emotional, genuine, realistic expression of love that I’ve ever seen in a film. I’ll leave a link to the scene here.
From here on, you just have to see how things turn out. What I love about this film is that it does not talk down to the audience. Jean’s wife is an amazing woman and mother. There is no villain here to justify the affair. There is just life, and the emotions and circumstances that come with it.