Hand in Hand (Main dans la main)

Hand in Hand (Main dans la main)
Release date: French Film Festival 2013, Mumbai
Directed by:  Valérie Donzelli
Cast: Valérie Lemercier, Jérémie Elkaïm, Béatrice de Staël, Valérie Donzelli, Sébastien Noiré, Serge Bozon, Philippe Laudenbach, Lyn Thibault

Valérie Donzelli presents a lively dramedy where she tries to establish an epic relationship of sorts between its protagonists with a backdrop of dance. It’s love at first kiss and the eventual revival of the lost fizz of the lead couple’s dynamic.

The screenplay may be basic with the crisis in it, but the basis and and approach of the plot is vividly fresh. A glass artist by profession, Joachim Fox (Jérémie Elkaïm) starts his introduction by skateboarding through the streets of Commercy. He lives with his sister Vero (Valérie Donzelli) and her husband JF (Sébastien Noiré) at her crowded house. She’s about to contest at ballroom dance competition in Monaco with her depressed neighbour Jean-Pierre (Serge Bozon) and the siblings’ relationship is a much cherished one.

On the other hand, Hélène Marchal (Valérie Lemercier) is an aging head instructor at the Ecole de Danse of the Paris Opéra, but she’s pledged to never dance on stage because she doesn’t like to be seen. She is the senior minister’s (Philippe Laudenbach) favorite and is accompanied by Constance de La Porte (Béatrice de Staël) 24 by 7. Fox is on a job in the same building and a weird kiss gives birth to a very weird affair between him and Hélène. The connect between them is so strong that they simply cannot stop being with each other.

The affinity, rather joint-at-the-hip syndrome between the protagonists, as hard it is to be believed on paper, forms the most entertaining part of the film. The chemistry builds and there is no separating the two. Constance and Vero, who have been by the duo’s respective sides for so long, find it difficult to adjust to this. The subplots eventually lead to the temporary problem in paradise.

From that point, the film starts to drown. The reason for Joachim’s frustration is not defined and there’s no answers because the supporting cast then decides to subside so that the lead pair gets together. As much as the film’s narrative tries to conquer the tough task of convincing the viewers of the strange connection, the inherent flaws cancel out the great performances by the actors.

Sébastien Buchmann’s cinematography is strikingly beautiful and realistically natural simultaneously. Be it Paris, New York or the suburbs, the imagery is brilliant. The editing is to be blamed for majorly spoiling the film, along with the shoddy writing in the latter half. Hand in Hand (Main dans la main) could have been much more, but it stops itself of attaining the depth for that.

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