Day 192: The Names of Love (September, 17)

At first sight, The Names of Love looked like an inoffensive sweet French comedy. And it is on some aspects, but under a lighter speech, we can find a staggeringly beautiful and sad story.

Following, there'll be some spoilers - they're not facts per se, but the main point in this story is behind its cheerful surface. Experiencing that realization is very interesting in this case, and I suggest that you stop to read this post if you intent to see this movie. It is worthy, I assure you.


Ancestry and origins are a big part of the two protagonists. Where we came from, our ancestors, the way we remember them and what they mean to us, the hurtful events and memories from the childhood... those are all a part of our present, and they become clear in our choices.

The movie debates what is part of a person, and how it influences relationships, with a particular focus to immigration, prejudices and crimes against humanity, and it does that through the tragic background of the characters here, and how they are shackled to it even if they're not aware to the extent of it.

How things are the way we remember and imagine is pointed here. When Arthur Martin tells us how their parents meet, his father is old - Arthur is unable to imagine his father young, and he explain that to us. It is a funny way to defend how any storyteller has a big part on a storytelling. And in this one we have two amazing narrators, Arthur and Baya. 

The way we carry with our inner child even in adulthood reveals that our childhood sorrow and pain is still with us. Arthur and Baya are chatting on a park bench, their inner younger versions are doing the same on a near bench. They are not free from what truly had hurt them years before - that is a particular feature but also a feeling that gives them a sense of belonging. 

Maybe because of that the parents are so important here. And heartbreaking. Arthur's mother and Baby's father broke my heart a million times.

The couple's attraction is not by chance. They struggle with the same feelings, but in a different way. Baya brings her anger, sadness and will to fight in her every breath. She speaks out loud to her surroundings. Arthur is quiet, repressed, he doesn't even want to be associated to his family's background. Although through different ways, they both are extremely hurt, and that's what glue them to each other - at least at first.

The odd thing is that, to be able to be together, though, they will have to let their hurt go away. Not an easy task. 

The choice of a sweet, funny, playful voice to talk about such painful feelings and relations turns this story even sadder, what is more apparent on the last half hour. A movie that I took for a forgettable fun turned out to be an accurate story about the humanity struggles nowadays - and always. 

The Names of Love (Le nom des gens). Directed by Michel Leclerc. With:
Sara Forestier, Jacques Gamblin, Zinedine Soualem. Writers: Baya Kasmi, Michel
Leclerc. France, 2010, 100 min., Dolby DigitalColor/Black and White (Netflix).

PS: Sense8 season 1, episodes 11 and 12. 

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