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Laramie Movie Scope:
An Affair of Love

A man responds to a woman's advertisement
for a sexual affair to satisfy her greatest fantasy

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(1999; French) A middle-aged French woman (Nathalie Baye) places an ad in a men's sex magazine, requesting a partner for a pornographic affair to satisfy her sexual fantasy. She explains to the interviewer, who questions both her and her former amoroso (Sergi Lopez) at intervals throughout the film, that the idea was to have sex and only sex with a man she would never know anything more about. The caballero of Spanish heritage shows the interviewer the magazine, preserved in plastic, in which he found the advertisement, admitting to being something of a romantic.

Initial contact was made online; then after an exchange of letters (no photos) they meet in a café and following brief preliminaries (she has coffee, he cognac) go to a hotel room around the corner, which she booked in advance. While both comment to the interlocutor that the first experience was good, though perhaps somewhat disappointing, neither will reveal any details of what took place. Feeling no guilt whatsoever, they agree to another assignation the next week.

Neither can recall what took place on the second occasion, though it may have lacked something for not being new, but she accepts an invitation to dinner at a restaurant where she finds comfort in his presence and suggests they go back to the hotel room. For six months they rendezvous once or twice weekly, first meeting at the café. He says of his inamorata that at first he took much interest in her beauty but then after becoming aware of her flaws, her beauty vanished as he became accustomed to her. She says of her inamorato that she became conscious of his desire for her and then of her hunger for him, which disturbed her.

Her cavalier servente is a decent man, not purely a sexual creature. She proposes: "What if we made love … normally?" He asks if she means missionary style; no, she prefers to be on top. In the movies sex is depicted as either paradise or purgatory, she observes, though in reality it is usually somewhere between. For the first time in her life she experiences a simultaneous orgasm with her companion; sex with him was "Total osmosis."

She likes to talk during love making; he doesn't mind but isn't loquacious. For him the experience has been ruined, he says, for their becoming too tender and considerate toward each other. Parting from him brings tears to her eyes as a sensation of being lost overcomes her.

Without explicitly setting up boundaries, they have avoided mentioning names, ages, addresses, occupations. The next rendezvous ends in uncertainty as to whether or not they will meet again; but once she has departed underground, he runs after her - "If she didn't come back, I'd lose her" - unable to find her.

For the first time he arrives first at the café and waits unsure if she will show up. They are passionate, irresistible to each other; but after an elderly man mistakes their room for his, interrupting their tryst, he collapses in the hallway. Begging them not to inform his wife of 40 years, handing the younger man his wedding ring, he's taken to the hospital by ambulance; the couple follow but cannot prevent the authorities from contact his wife.

Sitting with Mrs Lignaux they hear her tell of her husband's fickleness and numerous indiscretions; nevertheless, she says that without him she will kill herself. The younger woman asks her paramour if he thinks she will commit suicide; he judges not. Reading a newspaper when her lover arrives on the following Thursday, she informs him of his misjudgment since Mrs Lignaux is a victim of felo-de-se.

No sex this time, she says she just wants to be in his company and share conversation. Has he ever declared love to a woman she asks: not since he was a teenager. Why? Fear of failure and ridicule. She openly declares her love for him, confessing her wish to live with him, grow old together. His eyes watering, he says she'll eventually hate him once she gets to know him for what he is. She says she's willing to take the risk.

They agree to sleep on it and then decide on their next Thursday engagement, but they misread each other's cues: she should have known better than to trust his judgment of a woman's intentions. Nonetheless, they have for a time engaged in the ultimate fantasy.

(As for sexual imagery, like the film's subtle emotional revelations, relatively little gets exposed overtly to the camera's eye.)

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2007 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)