“Pieces of You in Everything”

If there’s one thing I learned abruptly from my family, it’s that sometimes you’re not supposed to spend your life with the people you love the most. As responsible and guilty as you may be for your own mistakes, things happen. There’s always a moment when you have to make a decision between not doing anything, thus protecting yourself and your relatives, and doing something that will end up hurting people and even breaking your own heart. This decision is based on how hard you need to feel something that you know is gonna be really good for you for a brief moment, and I don’t think any reasonable argument can compete with what your heart and body cry out for.

Yves and Sofia make the decision not to resist the call. They are both suffering from the same pain, at the same time, at the same place and for the exact same reasons. And God, we all know what it’s like to be in a situation that reminds you that something huge (good or bad) happened in the past, and you’re just struck with emotional paralysis! I’m truly amazed, in the first part of the film, at how Michael Polish, as well as Mark and Stana, rendered this feeling of not being able to act normally because you’re overwhelmed by sorrow and you don’t give a shit of anything or anyone around you. But once the shock of meeting each other in Montmartre wears off, Yves and Sofia get away together while traveling France.

Usually, I have a problem with American films and TV shows featuring scenes that take place in France. I can get upset very quickly when I see how stereotypes and old-fashioned images are conveyed, like the beret, the French baguette, the old stone buildings, the grouchy people and how even Paris looks like an old typical village (don’t laugh, I swear we still see that today!). But considering that FLO was genuinely shot in France, in real places, streets, buildings etc., as opposed to lots of other productions filmed in studios, I can’t be unhappy about the result. Although the outside noise can be a bit disturbing sometimes, I guess the whole point was to stick to a genuine way of rendering scenes throughout filming in real-life conditions. Some moments are amazingly powerful and poignant, like when Sofia is kneeling down in a church and Yves joins her. Without even watching him, she reaches her hand to his and they both stand together in front of the altar. This particular place brings soul to the instant and the characters. Although they’re both married (the rings and apple are there to remind us of that), the church scene is remarkably pure and sweet. Whatever the meaning one can give to it, it’s beautiful. And kind of painful, too.

There were moments when I felt a bit like an intruder. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing because it’s definitely not, it just means that some scenes reach such a high level of intimacy that I thought maybe I was not meant to hear the sighs, catch the whispers or smile at the laughs.

Sofia’s life is a beautiful mess indeed, but at least she has the guts to forget the mess temporarily and makes room for a beautiful time with Yves over a few days. And look how beautiful they are! Mark and Stana. Both of them. Sure they look good individually, but as Yves and Sofia, as a couple, as lovers, as people in love with each other, they do look amazing.

The way Yves and Sofia communicate with each other, whether verbally or physically, is pretty much what any couple does. Since they already know each other when their paths cross in Paris, we don’t get to see all of the awkward things that happen prior to the moment when two people kiss or make out for the first time. They’re comfortable with each other, know how to have fun together and enjoy the moment, then experience the misery of getting apart. Again.

No matter how sad it is to see them part at the end, the thing is they will never get away from each other’s hearts. They leave Paris in a better state than when they originally arrived, which in my opinion is a very positive way to say that they made the best out of a very painful situation.

I don’t necessarily expect or imagine Yves and Sofia meeting or getting together again after they leave Paris, but their relationship makes so much sense! I’m so grateful to the Polish brothers as they waited for Stana to be available for the filming. I really can’t imagine anyone else playing Sofia, and the chemistry between Mark and Stana is so intense! It’s clear that FLO has already impacted a certain number of viewers, me included, and I hope everyone is gonna spread the word so as to give their work the credit it deserves.

As for the film itself, I’ve never seen anything like that before. I like the filming, I like the music, I like the settings. And most of all, I like the realism of the whole thing. Stana and Mark’s talent outperforms mere acting.

After reading a few comments from people who questioned the “morality” of the storyline, I really don’t understand where this reaction comes from. It’s not about being unfaithful to your husband or wife, it’s about being in love and about all these little things that you do with the person you’re in love with. I’m deeply moved because the film appeals to emotions that everyone has experienced in various types of situations — love being obviously the most extraordinary, yet sometimes most terrible, feeling of all.

There are so many great lines in the film, but there’s one in particular that caught my attention and that’s probably what I want to remember about the film. It’s a very short sentence but I think it means a lot:

“Enlève tes lunettes.” Take off your glasses. Take off your sunglasses.

And really, when we do that, when we take off the glasses that make us perceive the world in a certain way, we get to see things differently. Sometimes in a very colorful way.

For info, the NY premiere is supposed to take place in July. I don’t think there’ll be a national release in France but the film will come to iTunes on July 12th. Visit the official page here: http://www.forloversonlymovie.com/