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Both Sides of the Blade (formerly known in English as Fire) (French: Avec amour et acharnement, lit. With Love and Fury ) is a 2022 French romantic drama film directed by Claire Denis, who wrote the screenplay with Christine Angot. The film is based on Angot s 2018 novel Un tournant de la vie. The film stars Juliette Binoche, Vincent Lindon, Grégoire Colin and Hana Magimel. The film had its world premiere on 12 February 2022 at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, where it competed for the Golden Bear, while Denis received the Silver Bear for Best Director.
Sara (Binoche) and her husband Jean (Lindon) swim in the sea while on vacation, kissing and caressing one another. They return home to a wintry Paris, where Sara works as a radio presenter. Jean, a former professional rugby player with a prison record, is an absent father to his mixed-race teenage son Marcus (Perica), who lives in the custody of Jean s mother Nelly (Ogier) in the banlieue of Vitry. One day, Sara glimpses her estranged ex-boyfriend François (Colin) on the street, flooding her with emotion. François, who was also once a close friend to Jean, is opening a sports agency to recruit young rugby players and contacts Jean to work with him as a talent scout. The re-entrance of François into their lives threatens the relationship Sara and Jean have had for ten years.
- Juliette Binoche as Sara
- Vincent Lindon as Jean
- Grégoire Colin as François
- Bulle Ogier as Nelly
- Issa Perica as Marcus
- Alice Houri as Tribunal de Commerce Worker
- Mati Diop as Gabrielle
- Bruno Podalydès as Invité Inauguration
- Lola Créton as Lola
- Richard Courcet as Postal Worker
- Hana Magimel as Anna
In early January 2021, Wild Bunch International announced the release of several French films despite the strict restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those movies would be Fire, a dramatic movie directed by Denis. That same month, it was announced that filming was about to wrap in Paris, and that Mati Diop, Bulle Ogier and Issa Perica were part of the cast, with Ad Vitam Distribution set to distribute in France. Part of the film was shot at Maison de la Radio, the headquarters of Radio France. Production wrapped in early February 2021.
The film was developed within the context and restrictions of the COVID-19 lockdowns in France, which Denis credits with bringing her and the cast closer together. However, they became exhausted, relentless with their work. The pandemic also exists as a reality in the film. Shooting a scene in the Paris Métro, Denis found it impossible to pretend the pandemic didn t exist. The characters also wear face masks in some sequences taking place outside their apartment.
The film marks the acting debut of Hana Magimel, the daughter of Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel.
The film was selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section of the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere on 12 February 2022. Claire Denis won the Silver Bear for Best Director. IFC Films acquired the US distribution rights to the film in early February 2022, for a limited release on 8 July 2022. The film was released in France by Ad Vitam Distribution on 31 August 2022.
The title Both Sides of the Blade is derived from the song of the same name by Tindersticks, which was written by Stuart A. Staples for the film and is featured at its conclusion. When she received the song during the film s editing, Denis was impressed by the quality of the title and deemed the French title Avec amour et acharnement too difficult to translate. Denis has described Both Sides of the Blade as the real title of the film because it describes the movie perfectly. The film was originally being marketed in English under the title Fire. Paste said there is palpable contention regarding the film s title. On 3 March 2022, during her introduction at the film s U.S. premiere at Lincoln Center s annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema series, Denis herself decried, The film is not called Fire! Denis told an interviewer at the event, I tried today to speak with the distribution company because I think Fire is not completely fitting for the film. Both Sides of the Blade, it’s sharp. There s passion, but it could be divided in a painful way. It s cutting! In April 2022, IFC Films officially changed its distribution title to Both Sides of the Blade.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 82% based on 102 reviews, with an average rating of 7.10/10. The website s critical consensus reads, Elevated by impeccable work from Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche, Both Sides of the Blade is a relationship drama that cuts deep. According to Metacritic, which assigned a weighted average score of 72 out of 100 based on 26 critics, the film received generally favorable reviews .
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film three out of five stars, writing, It s intriguing if contrived and anticlimactic, though acted at the highest pitch of sensual conviction. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film s psychologically astute screenplay, Gautier s probing cinematography and Denis laser-focused direction for laying bare the characters emotions with fluid modulation of tone . Rooney also praised the film s rigorous rejection of sentimentality and its sex scenes for involving middle-aged bodies captured with such unselfconscious naturalness and grace. Guy Lodge of The Guardian praised the unusually elegant geometry of the film s love triangle as well as Denis rich, nuanced exploration of female desire from the fault lines of an ostensibly simple narrative , and complimented Binoche and Lindon on the emotional range of their performances. Kevin Maher of The Times gave the film four stars out of five, writing, Binoche, typically, is on commanding form, working once more with a film-maker who seems intuitively aware of how to harness her every glance or grimace.
Awards and nominations
|2022||Berlin International Film Festival||Golden Bear||Claire Denis||Nominated|
|Silver Bear for Best Director||Won|
|Plot||A love triangle story about a woman caught between two men, her long-time partner and his best friend, her former lover.|
|Awards||Awards, 1 win & 1 nomination|
|Writers||Christine Angot, Claire Denis|
|Stars||Juliette Binoche, Vincent Lindon, Grégoire Colin|
|Produced by||Emilien Bignon,Jacqueline de Croy,Christine De Jekel,Olivier Delbosc|
|Music by||Stuart Staples,Tindersticks|
|Cinematography by||Eric Gautier|
|Film Editing by||Sandie Bompar,Guy Lecorne,Emmanuelle Pencalet|
|Casting By||Michael Laguens|
|Production Design by||Arnaud de Moleron|
|Set Decoration by||Jessy Kupperman|
|Costume Design by||Judy Shrewsbury|
|Makeup Department||Romain Marietti,Céline Planchenault|
|Production Management||Susana Antunes,Olivier Delbosc,Christophe Desenclos,Ignazio Giovacchini,Alex Grden,Alexandre Muhr,Thomas Pascual,Margaux Weiss|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||Melvin Nkosi,Joseph Rapp|
|Art Department||Manuel Mougin|
|Sound Department||Damien Luquet,Jean-Paul Mugel,Romain Ozanne,Olivier Walczak|
|Camera and Electrical Department||Eric Baraillon,Marie-Sophie Daniel,Pascal Delaunay,Klaudia Kaczmarczyk,Marc Nove,Gaëlle Rapp|
|Casting Department||Winifrey Bandera-Guzman,Isabelle Kramrick|
|Editorial Department||Minori Akimoto,Marina Amaro,Rudy Asmatico,Niels Barroin,Pierre Beautrait,Justine Bernal,Thibault Carterot,Chloé Cassin,Richard Deusy,Milan Evrard,Patrice Goessant,Camille Happert,Mustapha Laatita,Emmanuel Le Ridant,Yannis Loussikoulou,Cyril Polinacci,Cecile Portal,My Lan Nguyen Quang,Lucas Roy|
|Location Management||Michèle Massé,Melvin Nkosi|
|Music Department||Tom Pigott Smith|
|Script and Continuity Department||Juliette Picollot|
|Additional Crew||Kate Cavendish,Benjamin Celliez,Yousra Filali,Lon Haber,Chloé Mery,Dorothée Santucci,Emily Taffel|
|Genres||Drama, Romance, Thriller|
|Companies||Curiosa Films, Canal+, Ciné+|
|Keywords||female full frontal nudity,cheating wife,love triangle,ex lovers,female full rear nudity|