This week’s installment of the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center’s (PAC) Guelcher Film series teaches us that love can be found in many places.
The French comedy “The Names of Love” narrates the story of Baya Benmahmoud, a young and unrestrained liberal who leads her life by the slogan “make love, not war.”
Baya, the daughter of an Algerian immigrant and former French radical, lives out this philosophy in daily life by seducing politically conservative men.
Once she has them in bed, she converts them to her left-wing political interest, an endeavor that she successfully accomplishes until her encounter with Arthur Martin, a middle-aged Jewish scientist.
At first Baya believes that Arthur will be hard to win over. With such a common name, he must be very conservative.
Out of this premise, evolves what The Hollywood Reporter is claiming to be a “delightful, sexy and often audacious crowd pleaser.”
Although incredibly poised with comical scenes, the film acquires a serious tone toward the end when Baya and Arthur, bound by the intricate family tragedies of the Holocaust and the Algerian War, unexpectedly succumb to conspicuous sentimentality and fall in love.
The cast comprises Sarah Forestier as free-spirited Baya Benmahmoud and Jacques Gamblin as scientist Arthur Martin.
The New York Times asserts, “For all the potentially dangerous subjects it glosses, above all the tangled legacies of the Holocaust and the Algerian war, ‘The Names of Love’ dances away from any uncomfortable provocation.
“Even when sticking out its tongue, it is finally just an airy comedy riding on one cheeky, incandescent performance.”