Sad Song

Louise Narboni
France, 2019, 66 min


“Between documentary and fiction, the crude and the coded, contingency and devices, in short, between the raw and the cooked, there has always been a short-circuit, a striking short cut, impurity.” This is how Serge Daney described in 1980 the singularity of great French cinema. Forty years later, Chanson triste is a great film that proves him right. Raw: for a year, Parisian baroque singer Elodie Fonnard has taken in and taken care of Ahmad, a young refugee who has come to France to save his own life. Cooked: before Louise Narboni’s camera, Elodie and Ahmad re-enact their life together: cutting vegetables, preparing for an interview with the Office for Refugees, sharing their respective cultures, Elodie’s songs and Ahmad’s poems. Ahmad’s life inspires Louise and Elodie to a musical programme, which the film develops alongside the relationship between the singer and the young poet. At once an at-home musical, a political melodrama and a documentary study of a sentimental fling, Chanson triste reinvents the lyricism of the romantic and modern great lied: the expression of feelings moves us deeply, because their outpouring is at the same time emphasised and contained by the form – rhythm and melody. (FIDMarseille)