Shall We Kiss?

Year: 2007
Production Co: Angoa-Agicoa
Director: Emmanuel Mouret
Writer: Emmanuel Mouret
Cast: Virginie Ledoyen, Emmanuel Mouret

It's funny to see a film that's so chaste from a culture we most associate with the appreciation of sexuality and sexual pleasure, but Shall We Kiss contains a scene that's funny, yet so didactic is borders on excruciating.

When best friends Judith (Ledoyen) and Nicolas decide the only way to get the sexual intrigue they feel for each other out of their system is to go to bed together and prove there's nothing between them, it's like watching pantomime artists do an impression of the first amorous fumblings of two nervous teenagers.

In the early stages, because of scenes like it, I thought I'd end up disappointed with the whole film (not least because you expect a full frontal topless or nude scene by a lovely young Gallic nymphet in a French romantic comedy).

But something about it crept under my skin, and by the time it reached the final bookend of the business traveler telling the man she's met by chance the whole tale, I'd fallen in love with the romance of it.

After a breakup (the narrator tells the man who's given her a lift to her hotel in a strange town) Nicolas can't stand the absence of physical affection in his life. Despite being married, Judith agrees to kiss him, both of them expecting nothing to come of it. But when it leads to a desire they never knew they had, blowing up into a full-tilt love affair, the consequences become clear.

There's nothing particularly lavish about the photography or the sets, and the acting (in the early stages, with all its nervous hesitation) banal and frustrating, but just like falling in love does, the film somehow creeps up and grabs you from nowhere.

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