Wednesday, April 08, 2009
shall we kiss?
There are two stories here, one framed inside the other - a very nineteenth-century device. In the outer on, a picture-framer (his profession is no accident) begs a woman he barely knows for "a kiss without consequences." In refusing, she tells him the cautionary tale of Nicolas, who, lacking affection, suggests to a married friend named Judith that she meet his needs. This being Paris, Judith concurs, and, as you might expect, the no-strings encounter turns out to be tied up in strings of every sort. ...what we learn, as the jokes fade from the movie in the second half, is that beneath Mouret's goofy ditherings is an unremitting moralist, gripped by the ethics of temptation. ... SHALL WE KISS? puts its viewers in a bind worthy of the lovers themselves: should we organize a Socratic symposium on the issues raised by the film, or hurl our popcorn violently at the screen?
New Yorker, April 6, 2009
Of course, one man's moralizing is another man's meat. Wonder how Nat feels about other Moral Tales? He may be right, of course, but his antipathy piques my curiosity.