Joy of Singing looking to hit right note

Article published on Oct. 30, 2008
Article published on Oct. 30, 2008
Not surprisingly, the joy of singing is explored by the characters of Ilan Duran Cohen’s The Joy of Singing [trailer]. In the film, undercover secret agents pose as students of a picturesque opera singing class that is revealed to be nest of spies.

Screening in competition at the Rome Film Festival, the film is a successful "anti-romantic comedy" according to the director, who blends elements of comedy and a thriller, lightheartedness and melancholy in what has become the festival’s leit motif this edition: the mixing of genres.

Jeanne Balibar puts in a noteworthy performance as Constance. The widow of a shady businessman, she is unwittingly in possession of her husband’s secrets and thus becomes the centre of an atypical spy story, full of singing, erotic encounters and various reflections on the passing of time. "In this film I wanted to talk about music, a modern couple and in particular the loss of innocence," said Duran Cohen.

The film is effectively obsessed with the ideas a lost, or almost lost, youth, which afflicts everyone in different ways: it is too late for cynical spy Muriel (Marina Foïs) to have children and for Constance to become a pop singer; gigolo Julien (Julien Baumgartner) has too many wrinkles to attract new clients; and, above all, it is too early for secret agent Philippe (Lorànt Deutsch) to be impotent.

"All of the characters are searching for the right note, or the truth, and the room in which they meet to sing becomes a place where they everything stops so that they can tune and free their bodies and souls,” added the director of a film that is notably teeming with impudent nude scenes and sharp-witted dialogue.

Produced by Mille et Une Productions, The Joy of Singing is being sold by Pyramide International but does not yet have an Italian distributor.

Vittoria Scarpa