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New Line Home Cinema presents
An Affair of Love (2000)

"In movies, people climax together, more or less. You know, sex in movies is either hell or heaven, but never between the two. In life, it's often between the two."
- Elle (Nathalie Baye)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: February 26, 2001

Stars: Nathalie Baye, Sergi Lopez
Director: Frédéric Fonteyne

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: R for some strong sexual content
Run Time: 01h:21m:32s
Release Date: January 23, 2001
UPC: 794043516825
Genre: romance

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

An Affair of Love (Une liaison pornographique) tells the story of Elle (Nathalie Baye) and Lui (Sergi Lopez), two people who meet via a classified ad, intending only to fulfill a sexual fantasy but discovering that they actually like each other. As their relationship becomes closer and more real, the fantasy's importance fades and they open up to each other, making "normal" love on several occasions, though they never reveal their names or other details of their personal lives.

The story is structured as a post-mortem, with Elle and Lui granting separate interviews to an unseen inquisitor as they reminisce about their relationship, apparently some years in the past. Their recollections differ on certain events, and some of the facts are not revealed, including the specific nature of the fetish that brought them together originally. Director Frédéric Fonteyne maintains cinematic neutrality, never invading the lovers' privacy except during their "normal" sessions, and his approach gives equal weight to both characters' perspectives. His subtly paced film builds its impact almost imperceptibly slowly, balancing joyful revelations with heart-wrenching emotion, and anyone who can watch this without a few teary-eyed moments is a stronger person than I am.

Nathalie Baye's award-winning performance as Elle ("Her") is richly genuine in its tentative neediness, and Sergi Lopez's Lui ("Him") is a good-natured and decent man who doesn't seem to like himself very much. The chemistry between these two is thoroughly human and erotic in a manner rarely seen onscreen, forsaking sheet-clenching histrionics in favor of giddy, intimate conversation about preferences, technique and sore body parts. Carefully structured with a convincing aura of truth about it, An Affair of Love deserves to be experienced—discussing it at length seems somehow disrespectful and runs the risk of giving too much away, so I'll stop here.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: An Affair of Love is presented in its original 2.35:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio, with an anamorphic transfer, as well as a 1.33:1 pan & scan, full-frame version. Both transfers suffer some shimmer on thin, bright edges, and several shots of dark red paneling in a hotel hallway suffer consistent blocking and smearing, apparently due to a conspiracy of grain and high-frequency color content. The transfer is otherwise very solid, with excellent shadow detail and rich color, but it's not quite up to New Line's usual standards, and the source print has a few dirt flecks here and there. As usual, the pan & scan, full-frame version is to be avoided; while there are no epic vistas here, numerous performance details go missing in the cropped presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: New Line's An Affair of Love DVD includes two French-language tracks, a full-blown Dolby Digital 5.1 track (as presented in theatres) and a 2.0 surround track. The 5.1 track features an extremely active musical score, with effective bass and split surround usage, and atmospheric sound effects pan subtly around the soundstage to good effect, though dialogue is always centered. The 2.0 track is surprisingly flat and narrow, almost monophonic in comparison, and clearly intended for TV speakers only. Both tracks are clean and well-rendered digitally, but the 5.1 track is clearly the way to go.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:04m:14s

Extra Extras:
  1. DVD-ROM Weblinks
Extras Review: An Affair of Love features few supplements—twelve picture-menu chapter stops, the theatrical trailer in a nice 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and Cast and Director filmographies courtesy of the IMDb. New Line's traditional PC-only DVD-ROM features are present, though limited—just a copy of the official www.affairoflove.com website and a "Hot Spot" link to current New Line promotions. The English subtitles are unfortunately burned into the source print, not player generated, so French-speaking viewers don't have the option of turning them off.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

An Affair of Love is a thoroughly adult romance, bittersweet and cognizant of the ways in which love and sex complicate each other. New Line's DVD is slightly below the studio's usual standard, but presents this engaging French movie (with English subtitles) nicely enough. Recommended.


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