Both Sides of the Blade
[Avec amour et acharnement], directed by Claire Denis, France 2021, 116'
A seemingly simple love story in which the details reveal all the talent of Claire Denis, awarded for her direction at this year’s Berlinale. Sara (Juliette Binoche) is a radio journalist in a stable but predictable relationship with Jean (Vincent Lindon). One day, her ex-partner François (Grégoire Colin) appears in her life. An impenetrable successful man, he seems the complete opposite of the good-natured Jean. Can Sara only achieve true happiness by dividing her time between the two men? Or does she above all crave for freedom and not really need the company of either of them? Finding the answers to these questions will not be easy, as Denis has managed to create full-blooded, complex characters who escape the clichés. The same can be said of Both Sides of the Blade as a film that is thoroughly prosaic (referencing the coronavirus pandemic) and poetic at the same time. Responsible for the latter is the band Tindersticks, a regular collaborator of Denis, who put a ballad inspired by the story of the love triangle into the soundtrack.