I rewatched one of my favorite French films recently, Stéphane Brizé’s “Mademoiselle Chambon” (2009.)
“Mademoiselle Chambon” is a contemplative love story about a 50-something bricklayer named Jean (played by the magnificent Vincent Lindon) who falls in love with his young son’s teacher, Véronique Chambon (played by actress/singer Sandrine Kiberlain). Jean is married, Véronique is not. Complications ensue.
There are several moments in the film that have remained with me since first viewing: Véronique playing her violin with her back to Jean because she is shy performing; Jean at home with his family, lovingly washing the feet of 80-year-old father. These scenes are beautifully imagined and masterfully acted.
My favorite scene is below: Véronique plays a classical piece on the stereo for Jean – La Valse Triste by Hungarian composer Franz von Vecsey. Two souls meet with no words spoken. When Jean places Véronique’s hand on his own cheek, I felt butterflies. Director Stéphane Brizé has said, “You don’t rehearse scenes like that.”
Watch the clip. Rent the movie.