Mektoub, My Love (3 stars)

Mektoub, My Love

Abdellatif Kechiche channels Éric Rohmer in this sun-kissed stream-of-consciousness drama

Blue Is the Warmest Colour director Abdellatif Kechiche appears to have strayed into Éric Rohmer territory with Mektoub, My Love. Sun-dappled Mediterranean beaches, holiday romances, hedonism, unexpressed longings and broken hearts are very much the order of the day in his leisurely adaptation of the 2011 François Bégaudeau novel La Blessure, la vraie.

Kechiche has taken the themes of the novel and inflated them into a rambling, loose-limbed, stream-of-consciousness drama that feels unashamedly self-indulgent. In August 1994, Amin (Shaïn Boumedine) returns from Paris to his home city of Sète for the summer. He has abandoned his medical studies and is vaguely pursuing a passion for photography and a dream of writing film scripts. The first time we see him, he stumbles across his best friend Ophélie (Ophélie Bau) making love with his cousin Tony (Salim Kechiouche). Immediately, he is established as an observer, someone on the outside looking in. Over the summer weeks, Amin remains a passive, easy-going figure, drifting through life, not committing to anyone but clearly drawn to Ophélie. His loving mother merely wants him to head to the beach and have a good time.

Kechiche does capture the feeling of a restless, carefree summer where anything is possible. Tony is a feckless ladies man who pursues a string of casual encounters. Ophélie is also a free spirit who seems at her most relaxed and comfortable in the company of Amin. Her independence provides some counterbalance to a world of predatory men, in which both they and the camera objectify women. There is an abundance of ogling bikini-clad flesh, bronzed bodies, tan lines and jiggling backsides. A boisterous ode to life, love and youth, Mektoub has moments that charm and beguile but not enough to justify a three-hour running time, for what is merely the first part of the story.

Selected release from Fri 15 Feb.

Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno

  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • France / Italy
  • Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche
  • Cast: Shain Boumedine, Ophélie Bau, Salim Kechiouche

Amin (Boumedine) is in his home town of Sète after abandoning his medical studies when he encounters best friend Ophélie (Bau) making love with his cousin Tony (Kechiouche). Leisurely coming-of-age tale, an ode to life, love and youth, but at three hours a bit long for what’s only part one of a story.