L’Économie du Couple :: The Opposite of a Date Movie…

L’Économie du Couple is a pretty standard end-of-love story elevated by extraordinary performances. It's not a date movie. It's the opposite, in fact, of a date movie. It's a divorce movie. 

Boris and Marie are splitting up but forced by economic necessity to carry on living together. Their twin daughters are stuck in the middle, watching helplessly as their parents self-destruct.

It’s a good film and eminently watchable throughout – even if like me you’re watching it in the original French, with Dutch subtitles, and you understand neither language with anything approaching competence. There are, however, a couple of stand-out scenes.

Cineville - L’Économie du Couple

One is an enormously awkward al fresco dinner party at which Marie is telling her friends how much she actually, literally hates her husband, when her husband turns up and insists on joining the party. The resulting conversation is excruciatingly painful, horrifically sad and just awful.

The other exemplary scene gives a brief taste of what the couple must have been like in happier times, when at their daughters’ encouragement, they dance together in the kitchen. This scene made me cry, and I still feel the sadness, months later, when I think of it. 

It’s a pretty harrowing film without an enormous number many laughs. Although I recognised its truth and wriggled empathetically in its horror, it’s not a film I would consider watching again, not even with English subtitles. C’est trop triste!



The Viewing

Het Ketelhuis is about a 15-minute bike-ride away from my house in the Oud West. It's situated in the eastern corner of Westerpark, a bloody great sprawler of a park with all kinds of entertainments hidden away in it, including - as far as I can work out - a free tennis court.  

It is also the third cinema I have experienced in Amsterdam, the first two both being Pathé cinemas, I think. And whilst Amsterdam's Pathé cinemas are fine, they're also a tad on the large, loud, chainy and spiritless side, compared to Het Ketelhuis and, I imagine, the rest of the independent and arthouse cinemas on the Cineville list. Het Ketelhuis is a great cinema with a beautifully cosy little bar that one day I’d like to spend some time in. It's the very picture of gezelligheid.

So this evening was the first time I’d used my brand new temporary Cineville card, having just printed it off from the email this afternoon, and part of me kept expecting something to go wrong. I still couldn’t really believe it. So I handed it over with a certain hesitance.

The man on the other side of the counter looked at my piece of paper like he’d never seen one before. Then he excused himself and wandered over to a colleague, a grey-haired, warm-faced woman with a tad more experience in these situations. She responded warmly and the man returned, scanned my temporary pass and printed me off a ticket.

And that was it. It was all true. €19 a month for unlimited access to as many films as I can fit into my life, surely more films than I could ever find the time to watch.

Frankly speaking, it's pretty much a dream come true for me. But it's definitely real. And it has begun. My Cineville journey has begun.

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you’ll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

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